Sermon #52 Series: Mark
Title: “THE GOD OF THE LIVING”
Text: Mark 12:18-27
Readings: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
Subject: The Sadducees And The Resurrection
Date: Sunday Morning - June 14, 1998
Tape # U-72b
Scripture Reading 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
(35) But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
(36) Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
(37) And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
(38) But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
(39) All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
(40) There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
(41) There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
(42) So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
(43) It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
(44) It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
(45) And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
(46) Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
(47) ) The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
(48) As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
(49) And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
(50) Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
(51) Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
(52) 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.
(53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
(54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
(55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
(56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
(57) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
(Mark 12:18-27) Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, (19) Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. (20) Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. (21) And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. (22) And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. (23) In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. (24) And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? (25) For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels, which are in heaven. (26) And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? (27) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
In this portion of Scripture we have the Sadducees’ attempt to entrap our Lord Jesus. Earlier in the day the Pharisees and Herodians tried to catch him in his words. Here the Sadducees try to do the same thing.
Understand that the Sadducees were the smallest but by far the most wealthy and influential of the Jewish sects. They were the aristocrats of Judaism, and for the most part controlled the priesthood and the temple. Though that was the case, the Sadducees were not commonly respected by the people. They, supposing themselves to be smarter than God, denied the resurrection. They were the most liberal sect of the Jews. They were religious; but their religion was the religion of infidelity.
It was their infidelity regarding the resurrection of the dead which made the Sadducees and Pharisees bitter enemies, much like the liberals and the conservatives of any religious denomination today.
But when the Lord Jesus came to Jerusalem, exerting his rightful claims and sovereign power as the Son of God, the Messiah, drove the money changers from the temple, and began to disrupt their religious order, demanding that God be worshipped as God in his house, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, along with all the other religious groups joined forces against him.
“How could this happen,” you might ask. How could religious people with such strong doctrinal and ceremonial differences at once unite in opposition to the Son of God? The answer is obvious. They really believed the same thing essentially. The Pharisees, the Herodians, the Sadducees, the Essenes, the Zealots, and the Scribes all held to the idolatrous, pagan notion than salvation was in some way dependent upon and determined by man’s will, works, and worth. Whereas, the Lord Jesus plainly declared that salvation is the work of God’s free and sovereign grace alone.
God’s church and God’s servants today must not expect things to be any different. Those who despise the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ, though they may be bitter enemies, will unite like beloved brethren to oppose the gospel of Christ. We must always expect and be prepared for the assaults and deceitful slanders of infidels, Arminians, and workmongers who wear the badge of Christianity.
Proposition: As the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes in this chapter united in their opposition to Christ, the whole religious world unites and speaks as one voice in its opposition to the gospel of Christ today.
In this passage of Scripture, as we consider the ludicrous question of the Sadducees and the answer our Master gave them, four things stand out as matters of great importance.
1. Religious Infidelity.
2. Spiritual Ignorance.
3. The Power Of God.
4. The Resurrection Life.
I. Religious Infidelity.
The vast majority of people in this world who profess the name of Christianity, including the most powerful and most influential religious leaders of it, are real infidels. Their religion is a matter of convenience, not conviction. It is, for the most part, a religion, which holds the Word of God, the truth of God, the gospel of God, the will of God, and the glory of God in utter contempt, just like these Sadducees.
These Sadducees laughed at the doctrine of the resurrection. They were simply too smart, too educated, too enlightened to believe such religious sentiments.
The question they posed to the Lord Jesus illustrates their arrogance.
(Mark 12:18-23) Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, (19) Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. (20) Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. (21) And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. (22) And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. (23) In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
There are several things which stand out to me in this question.
· The Sadducees’ pretended reverence for Christ - Master
· Their pretended reverence for the Word of God - Moses wrote.
· Their pretentious piety - Whose wife shall she be?
These men presented this question as though it were a factual thing, as though they were really interested in knowing the answer. Any statistician will tell you that you would have a far greater chance of winning the lottery than of this actually happening. The only thing these men were interested in was raising a question, which they were confident the Master could not answer.
We will be wise to mark the things recorded here and learn from them not to allow modern religious infidels to entrap us. When carping religious infidels want to argue with you, just ignore them. Give them plain statements of Scripture, and leave them alone. If you get into a hissing contest with a snake, you are going to lose. Such people always…
· Try to press difficult and abstruse points.
· Act in dishonesty.
· Deserve contempt.
II. Spiritual Ignorance.
(Mark 12:24) And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
Spiritual ignorance and doctrinal error may always be traced to these two things: (1.) Ignorance of The Word of God and (2.) Ignorance of God’s Power. These men did not believe in the resurrection of the dead because they did not know the teaching of Holy Scripture.
I do not doubt for a moment that they knew the letter of the Scriptures. No doubt, they could quote huge passages from the Bible from memory. I do not doubt that they were very keenly aware of the historic events and chronological order of things recorded in the Scriptures. They knew the history of Israel, and even knew what the prophecies of the Old Testament said. But they had absolutely no knowledge of the meaning and message of Holy Scripture. Their understanding was nothing but the understanding of carnal reason and religious tradition.
Do you understand the message of Scripture? The Book of God is all about Christ. The message of this blessed Book is the gospel of Christ.
(Luke 24:27) And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
(Luke 24:32) And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
(Luke 24:44-45) And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.
(John 5:39) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
(1 Peter 1:23-25) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Listen to me now. Listen carefully. Spiritual knowledge is not merely doctrinal knowledge, creedal knowledge, logical knowledge, and factual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is the revealed knowledge of a Person, and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The resurrection is more than a doctrine. It is a person.
(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.
You cannot know the Person without knowing the doctrine; but you certainly can know the doctrine without knowing the Person.
A. Christ is my resurrection and my life.
1. Representatively In Redemption
(Ephesians 2:4-6) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
2. Experimentally In Regeneration
(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.
(Revelation 20:6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
(Colossians 3:1-3) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
3. Prospectively In The Last Day!
(Colossians 3:4) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
B. The truth of God, the gospel of his grace, is much more than doctrinal, historical facts - THE GOSPEL IS CHRIST.
(John 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Without question, this Person is revealed and made known to us and in us in the context of revealed, doctrinal truth. But life and salvation comes by knowing God himself in the person of our all glorious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God.
(John 17:3) And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Salvation is not merely knowing about Christ. Salvation is knowing Christ.
· As My God.
· As My Surety.
· As My Substitute.
· As My King.
· As My Priest.
· As My Prophet.
· As My Savior!
III. The Power Of God.
Spiritual ignorance, doctrinal error, and heresy of every kind, according to this statement by our Savior, must be traced to ignorance of the power of God. I take that to mean three things. These three things you will find throughout the Scriptures are what is meant by the power of God.
A. Spiritual ignorance arises from and must be traced to an utter ignorance of GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY - His absolute authority as God.
B. Spiritual ignorance arises from and must be traced to an utter ignorance of GOD’S OMNIPOTENCE - His almightiness as God.
C. Spiritual ignorance arises from and must be traced to an utter ignorance of GOD’S GOSPEL - which is the power of God unto salvation.
These Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection because they were totally ignorant of God’s sovereignty, his omnipotence, and his gospel. All heresy, all spiritual ignorance must be attributed to these things.
All false religion, all free will, works religion denies the sovereignty of God’s will and purpose in election and predestination, the omnipotence of his power and grace in redemption, regeneration, and effectual calling, and the gospel’s good news of redemption accomplished by the blood of his dear Son.
IV. The Resurrection Life.
(Mark 12:25-27) For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels, which are in heaven. (26) And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? (27) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
There is much, much more in these verses than I can expound now. But let me give you three things as I wrap this message up.
A. There will be a resurrection of the dead.
When our Lord Jesus comes again, there will be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust. This fact is inscribed upon every man’s heart and conscience by the finger of God in creation. Anyone who denies the resurrection is a liar. He lies against his own conscience.
This doctrine of the resurrection is the doctrine of both the Old and New Testaments (Ex. 3:6; Job 19:25-26; Ps. 16:9-10; 49:15; 73:24; Hos. 6:1-2; Dan. 12:2; John 5:29; 1 Cor. 15:35-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
(Job 19:25-27) For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (26) And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (27) Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
(John 5:29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (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 prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (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. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
B. In the resurrection God’s saints shall be as the angels of God.
(Mark 12:25) For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels, which are in heaven.
What does this statement mean? I am certain that it contains a depth of meaning far greater than I have yet fathomed. But I am equally certain that it means these things. In the resurrection…
1. We will be completely free of all carnal distinctions, weaknesses, cares, needs, and passions.
There will be no need for marriage and procreation because there will be no more sickness, sorrow, bereavement or death! And there will be no imperfection of love and unity among God’s saints.
2. We will, like the angels of God, possess the constant, full knowledge and assurance of God’s approval.
3. We will enjoy uninterrupted assurance of complete security with Christ.
4. We will have perfect, uninterrupted communion with our Redeemer.
5. Like the heavenly angels, we will always be engaged in the suitable, gratifying service of our great God - Worshipping Him! - Singing His Praise! - Celebrating His Wondrous Works! - Doing His Will!
6. We will have unbroken, everlasting rest!
7. Like those celestial spirits above, we will gaze upon our God and Savior. “They do always behold the face of God.” “They shall see his face!”
C. He who is our God is the God of the living.
(Mark 12:26-27) And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? (27) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
Again, there is much more here than I can deal with in detail. But certain things are clear.
1. God’s saints who have left this world are not dead, but living.
2. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob represent all God’s elect.
a. They were chosen of God.
b. They were heirs of a covenant.
c. They believed God.
d. They lived in communion with God.
e. They did not fully enjoy the fulfillment of God’s promises until they left this vale of tears.
(Hebrews 11:13-16) These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (14) For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. (15) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. (16) But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
f. Gods glory was wrapped up in their lives. - “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”
Illustration: The Robin’s Eggs