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Resurrection and Life

(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 5/31/2020

Today is the Feast of Pentecost. On Pentecost, we usually touch on the giving of the Law at Mt Sinai, and the coming of God’s Holy Spirit to establish the Church on this day.

More than any of the other Feast Days, Pentecost exemplifies the Feast of the Church. In today’s sermon, we will be exploring two other major aspects of the Feast of Pentecost.

The first aspect is that of the Resurrection of the Church brethren—the Saints.

The second aspect of Pentecost that we will consider is that of Eternal Life.

Pentecost is all about our resurrection and eternal life. We touched on this question last time, but I’d like to set the stage for today’s sermon:

Question: To who does Jesus first appear after His resurrection?

Answer: Not Peter, John, or His apostles, but surprisingly Mary Magdalene!

Jesus appeared first, after His resurrection, to Mary Magdalene!

Is that who we would have picked for that very special distinction? Do we have the mind of Christ? (Philippians 2:5)

We saw in my last sermon that Mary Magdalene had an integral part in nearly all of the events surrounding the crucifixion.

Mary Magdalene witnessed the sham trial of Jesus; She saw Pontius Pilate sentence, Jesus, to death; Mary Magdalene cringed as Jesus was beaten and humiliated by His countrymen. Mary Magdalene was one of the women at the foot of Jesus’ cross as He bled to death. And then, Jesus first appeared first to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection.

There were a number of women, with very different backgrounds, that Jesus worked with, in very different ways. Let’s look at another:

Question: Who is the first person that Jesus chose to reveal that He was the Messiah?

We find the answer to this question in the story of Jesus and the Woman of Samaria at Jacob’s Well in John 4

To whom does Jesus reveal that He is the anointed One – the Messiah?

Answer: Again, it was not Peter, John, or His apostles, but the immoral Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. When Jesus encounters her on the road to Galilee, we find that she has had 5 husbands – and she is living with #6!

Ask yourself, “Why would Jesus single out a woman like this to reveal that He is the Messiah? (John 4:26)

The timing of this event is Pentecost – ~28 AD

John 4:5  Then came [Jesus] to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 

The town of Sychar is ~30 miles North of Jerusalem on the way to Galilee.

John 4:6  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on [Jacob’s] well: and it was about the sixth hour. [noon] 

John 4:7  There came a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said unto her [the Bible does not reveal her name to us], Give me to drink. 

This is a fantastic, revealing conversation that Jesus has with this woman!

John 4:8  (For His disciples were gone away unto the city to buy food.) 

John 4:9  Then said the woman of Samaria unto Him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, ask drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 

John 4:10  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to thee, Give me to drink; thou would have asked of Him, and He would have given thee Living Water

The reference to Living Water is a clue that the time setting of this event is Pentecost. And, Jesus speaks to this Samaritan woman about Eternal Life!

John 4:14  Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into Everlasting Life

In today’s sermon, we are looking at Resurrection and Everlasting Life.

John 4:17  The woman answered and said [unto Jesus], I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, “I have no husband:” 

John 4:18  For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that you spoke truly. 

John 4:19  The woman said unto Him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 

Jesus shares some really deep and spiritual concepts with this woman:

John 4:24  God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. 

John 4:25  The woman said unto him, I know that the Messiah is coming, which is called Christos, [Anointed One]: when He is come, He will tell us all things. 

John 4:26  Jesus said unto her, I that speak unto thee am He. 

Jesus reveals to the Samaritan woman – that He is the Messiah! Then Jesus speaks of Eternal Life to his disciples when they arrive…

John 4:36  And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit unto life eternal:

The words that Jesus shared with the Samaritan woman did not fall on deaf ears…

John 4:39  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on [Jesus] for the saying of the woman, which testified, “He told me all that ever I did.” 

John 4:40  So when the Samaritans were come unto Him, they besought Him that he would tarry with them: and He [did, He] abode there two days. 

John 4:41  And many more [Samaritans] believed because of His own word; 

John 4:42  And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world. 

That is a remarkable story – and it began with Jesus revealing to the Samaritan woman that He was indeed the Messiah.

There is a third woman that Jesus dealt with that I would like to take a look at next:

We all know the story of Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. This third woman is Martha, the spiritually minded sister of Lazarus whom Jesus loved:

John 11:5  Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 

John 11:14  Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead

John 11:15  And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless, let us go unto him. 

John 11:17  Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain [dead] in the grave four days already.

John 11:21  Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou had been here, my brother had not died. [you could have prevented His death!]

John 11:22  But [Martha is asking for a miracle here] “I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it to you.” 

These next few verses reveal that Martha had a good understanding of the Plan of God.

John 11:23  Jesus said unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 

John 11:24  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last [great] day. [that is in the general resurrection – not the first resurrection of the firstfruits]

Notice, the title of today’s sermon comes from this next verse:

**John 11:25  Jesus said unto her, I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Jesus said this because many who are asleep [i.e., dead] in the grave will be in the first resurrection. Paul covers this point in a very clever way a couple of times.

1Corinthians 15:20  Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [those who died in the faith—Jesus first]

That is a key Scripture that reveals that both Jesus and resurrected Church brethren are indeed, firstfruits.

Let me repeat that:

1Corinthians 15:20  Now is Christ risen from the dead, [that is the resurrection] and become the firstfruits of them that slept

Firstfruits” actually begin with the first ripe grain of the Wave Sheaf offering [Jesus Christ] and continue through to Pentecost – the Pentecost at the end of the Tribulation period [for the Church brethren].

There is the first resurrection, of the faithful, which takes place when Christ returns, and it is tied to Christ’s resurrection.

Therefore, those faithful brethren in the Church of God today are also an integral part of the early firstfruits harvest.

The Church is called ‘the first fruits’ and the ‘firstborn’—after Christ.

Christ is the firstborn, afterward those that are His at His coming (1Corinthians 15:23).

Paul told the Thessalonians that indeed, “the dead in Christ shall be resurrected first.”

1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first

The incredible truth is that those faithful brethren of the Church of God are begotten by God the Father to be included with Jesus Christ—to be among the early harvested firstfruits resurrection.

John 17:5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 

The firstfruits resurrection is of Jesus Christ and the Saints: It is to, life eternal.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection:… they [the resurrected saints] shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

We are told to count Pentecost.

You shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the Wave Sheaf offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete:” 

You start counting on a Sunday – 1 – 2 – 3 –…– 7 until you come to the first weekly Sabbath day – that is one week. [repeat that weekly count seven times.]

Seven weeks – comes to 49 days – but we are still counting…

Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days.”

**Jesus’ resurrection, and the resurrection of the Church brethren, are irrevocably and inexorably tied together by the counting of seven sevens of days to arrive at the Feast of Pentecost.

Seven times seven is emphatically a perfect number signifying one resurrection!

Both Jesus and the Church brethren are firstfruits.

Leviticus 23:10  … You shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 

Leviticus 23:11  And he shall wave the sheaf [representing Jesus] before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 

We find that Jesus’ resurrection is before the forty-nine, day count begins. And not only that, the day of Pentecost occurs immediately after the 49 days are complete. That was yesterday – the seventh weekly Sabbath in our count.

There are exactly forty-nine days between the Wave-Sheaf harvest and Pentecost.

Jesus’ Resurrection is one “book-end” of the forty-nine days. And the other “bookend” at the end of the forty-nine days is the Pentecost resurrection of the Church brethren – represented by the two wave loaves.

Leviticus 23:15  You shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the Wave Sheaf offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: 

Leviticus 23:16  Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new grain offering unto the LORD. 

Again, both the resurrected Jesus Christ and the resurrected Church brethren are firstfruits unto the LORD.

Leviticus 23:17  Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. 

Jesus’ resurrection and the resurrection of the Saints perfectly bracket these two remarkable trips to God’s throne in heaven. Here is what we find:

Jesus Christ’s resurrection + 7 weeks + our resurrection.

The Wave Sheaf grain was being harvested at the same moment that god the Father was resurrecting Jesus with exceeding great power.

Ephesians 1:19  …The exceeding greatness of [God the Father’s] power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 

Ephesians 1:20  Which He worked in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead

The wave loaf mingled with oil (verse 13) signifies Jesus, while the two wave loaves baked with leaven symbolize the resurrected Church brethren.

In the same way that the Wave-Sheaf offering—with oil—represented Jesus Christ, the two wave-loaves of Pentecost—baked with leaven, represent God’s spiritual firstfruits of faithful men and women (Leviticus 23:17).

There is only one first resurrection – and the saints are a part of that one resurrection with Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:5-6).

The saints are also the firstfruits.

There is one first resurrection consisting of two parts. We, the saints, are a part of the first resurrection with Jesus – but our resurrection takes place later.

The apostle John was the first to recognize Christ’s Resurrection and Life. (title)

We saw that reality in my last sermon:

John saw the two abandoned linen cloths which had very obviously been separated by the living Jesus Christ within the sealed tomb.

John 20:7  And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself

The resurrected Jesus had moved His headcloth linen to another place after His resurrection – proving that He had been raised to Life. John was first to believe in the resurrected and living Jesus Christ.

John 20:8  Then went in also that other disciple [John], which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed

What John saw was a resurrection and a life, but not only that of Jesus, because Jesus had said that if someone believed in Him, which John did, they too would be raised up and live.

John 3:15  That whosoever believes in [Jesus] should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 6:39  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up again at the last day.

John 6:40  And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which sees the Son, and believes on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:54  Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

And that brings us to our resurrection and life. In today’s sermon, we are looking at the meaning of Pentecost—the very day of our resurrection at the last trumpet.

The trumpets (Plural) begin to sound on a Feast of Trumpets, but the last trumpet, the resurrection trumpet, (singular) will be sounded on a Feast of Pentecost.

Today, we are near the pivotal point in the Plan of God as portrayed by the Feasts of the Lord. The resurrection of the Saints of God will occur on an imminent soon coming Feast of Pentecost—at the last trumpet at the return of Christ.

There will be the sound of a great trumpet blown at the end of the 3½ year Tribulation, on the Day of Pentecost – when the Saints are being raised.

Isaiah 27:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. 

Our resurrection to reign and rule with Jesus Christ will come at the sounding of the very last trumpet:

1Corinthians 15:51  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed

1Corinthians 15:52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet (singular): for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 

Yes, on that Pentecost, we will be resurrected to eternal life.

The people of Jesus’ day were not all used to thinking in terms of a “resurrection” as most people are today are used to the notion.

Matthew 22:23  The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection…

Even the concept of Eternal Life was not totally accepted in Jesus’ day. More than any of the Biblical writers, the Resurrection, and Eternal Life were written, of by John. We have seen how slow the apostles were to grasp these concepts – even after Jesus had spoken of them.

John 5:25  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live

John 5:26  For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath He given to the Son to have Life in himself; 

Again, we find the title here:

John 5:29  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life;…

Again, this is the message of the Feast of Pentecost!

John 11:25  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

The very first thing that John declared when he first began to set pen to parchment – was that Jesus Christ’s life is eternal Life.

1John 1:1  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; [John is speaking of Jesus when he says, Word of life]

1John 1:2  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, [Jesus] who was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 

1John 2:25  And this is the promise that He has promised us, even Eternal Life.

John reiterates this clarification in:

1John 5:11  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 

1John 5:12  He that hath the Son has life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

1John 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have Eternal Life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 

If we believe and are faithful to the words of Jesus Christ we have Eternal Life.

Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit which would come upon the Church brethren at Pentecost.

John 16:7 [Jesus said] …If I go not away, the [Holy Spirit] will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send it unto you. (John 14:26) 

John 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that it may abide with you forever; [forever = eternal life]

John 14:17  Even the Spirit of truth; which the world cannot receive, because it sees not, neither knows [about the Holy Spirit]: but ye know; for it dwells with you, and shall be in you. [because this is before Pentecost]

John 14:18  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you

John 14:19  Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 

John 14:20  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 

John 14:23  Jesus said … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 

John 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in my name, shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 

Paul explained that if we are to have eternal life – we must put on Christ.

Colossians 3:3  For ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 

Colossians 3:4  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. 

Paul also touches on our resurrection – which will take place on a soon coming Feast of Pentecost.

1Thessalonians 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also who are asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 

1Thessalonians 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep. 

When does the resurrection take place?

1Thessalonians 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first

There are two fulfilments of Pentecost. First in Acts 2:1  When the day of Pentecost was fully come—and the Church was established.  The second fulfillment – for God’s People – will be when the Church is resurrected on a future Pentecost Day.

2nd fulfillment of Pentecost here:

1Thessalonians 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [First resurrection to eternal Life.]

Pentecost is also called the Feast of Harvest because it pictures the spring harvest of the resurrected Church of God brethren—the resurrected firstfruits saints.

Exodus 23:16 And the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field.

Pentecost is also called the Day of the Firstfruits because it pictures the resurrection of the firstfruits saints. (Leviticus 23:17) 

Pentecost is also called the Feast of Weeks:

Exodus 34:22 You shalt observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest. (Numbers 28:26)

God sent His Holy Spirit and fulfilled the meaning of the prophetic Day of Pentecost when He established His Church some seven weeks after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

That birth of the Church took place on Pentecost Sunday.

The Feast of Pentecost pictures God’s Spirit coming upon His Church brethren enabling them to become Children of God, walk according to God’s Law, become immortal and incorruptible spirit beings, and firstfruit brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

[Repeat]

1Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 

The Feast of Pentecost represents the establishment of the New Covenant Church with the coming of the promise of the Father—God’s Holy Spirit, which He has given to us (Acts 1:4).

On that Day of Pentecost, only seven weeks after Jesus died and was resurrected, God poured out His Holy Spirit on a few assembled disciples of Jesus.

Peter, who was there at that Pentecost assembly, began preaching what must necessarily be done in order to receive the Spirit of God. He powerfully proclaimed:

Acts 2:38 Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

God’s Spirit is not a bird and does not look like a dove. Anyone who has ever seen a dove descending knows that they land slowly and gently – not like a bolt of lightning.

God’s Spirit was manifested in this way for a witness that something truly extraordinary had just taken place.

At Pentecost when God’s Holy Spirit came upon the first Church saints there was a similarly remarkable spectacle observed by all – in order to punctuate the fact that something truly breathtaking had occurred. On that first Pentecost, after Jesus was crucified, God began sending His Spirit into the New Testament Church brethren. Jesus had told them:

On the future Day of Pentecost God will breathe into the Church brethren—Eternal Spirit.

On the last Pentecost when Jesus returns, the saints will be caught up to God’s throne to be accepted just as Jesus was accepted on the fulfillment of the Wave Sheaf.

John 20:17  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 

The Church of God, brethren, including, the prophets and the saints of the Old Testament, are a part of the firstfruits and will be in the better resurrection (Hebrews 11:35).

Then, at the end of the millennium, there will be a much larger harvest—pictured by the Fall Holy Days—including the resurrection of the Great White Throne Judgment period (Revelation 20:11).

But, this is not the First Resurrection to Life.

Brethren, we – you and I – are among that one hundred and twenty New Testament Church of God brethren on that first Pentecost who, were empowered with God’s Spirit unto the First Resurrection and Eternal Life. (Acts 1:15).