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Raising The Dead - Scott Richardson


October - December 2011 Fall Series At Jackson Drive.


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Scott Richardson



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September 4, 2011


Raising the Dead

Raising the dead is certainly a very popular concept. A quick search using Google yielded more than 6 million possible matches. There are, books, video clips, horror movies, musical recordings, religious entries pro and con, and even pages of incantations and spells from would be supernatural specialists. It seems almost everyone must either be entertained by, or at least concerned with, raising the dead.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about raising the dead, though, is the fact that I personally have been raised from the dead. What’s more, I also know many others who have been raised from the dead. It is very likely that you know several people who have been raised, too. I know the apostle Paul knew some folks who had been raised.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:1-7).

In this text statements are made about Christians having been raised from the dead. It was a strange thing for one to be raised from the dead (John 12:9). But as strange as it may seem, all of these Ephesians had been raised from the dead.

Consider the literal physical act of raising the dead. One example is found in Luke 7:11-15. This young man actually was raised from the dead. Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, was also raised from the dead (John 11:43). If we can accept one or two miracles, we can understand “raising the dead.” Most importantly, Jesus, Himself, was raised from the dead (Mark 16:1-6) and through that resurrection was proclaimed with power as the Son of God (Romans 1:4). In these examples, there was physical death. The spirit had left the body (Ecclesiastes 12:7) Then, the spirit and the body had been reunited.

These Ephesians had been dead. But, had they been dead as the young man, or Lazarus, or Jesus had been dead? No! These had been dead because of their sins. They had sinned and were, as a result, separated from God—thus, dead. Is this not the message of Ezekiel of long ago? “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die … The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:4,20). It is certainly the message of God through Isaiah: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God …” (Isaiah 59:2). These Ephesians had been dead in the spirit but alive in the flesh, just like Paul reminded us when he wrote his letter to the Christians in Rome: “For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23).

A raising of the dead had taken place—the Ephesians had been raised from the dead. In what sense had they been raised? They had been raised from some kind of burial. What kind? They had been buried in baptism and then raised to a new life just as with all who are sincerely obedient. “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3,4). Do we see the results that followed baptism? A new life began. Sins had been remitted; there was no more slavery to sin: “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6).

These people had not only been raised, they had been raised with Christ. There is the likeness of Christ’s resurrection in the coming forth from baptism. Remember that connection from Romans 6:3,4 as quoted in the previous paragraph? The Holy Spirit had Paul make it all so sensible to us.

Relationships mean everything, spiritually. The raised ones are put in a new relationship “in” Christ (Ephesians 2:6). But is that any strange thing? We are taught that, when we are baptized, we are baptized into Christ! Look at Romans 6:3,4 again!

Paul reminded the Christians in Colossae that they, too, had been raised. “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ …” (Colossians 3:1). The raised are then to seek new things. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2). The attitude of “things above” is then explained:

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:12-17).

There will be another “raising of the dead” for everyone whether or not they have been raised with Christ. This will be the resurrection from the literal grave. “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28,29). Have you been raised from the dead? Don’t you want the blessings that come with being raised together with Christ?

—S. Scott Richardson Sr.

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