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For Heaven's Sake (32 of 36)
Series: Saints Gone Wild
1 Corinthians 15:12-34
Have you ever noticed how we speak so casually of heaven? We express surprise by, "Oh my heavens!" or "What in heaven's name!" or "Heavens to Betsy!" (I still don't get that one. Who is this Betsy, and what's she got to do with heaven?) When we are in a jam, we might cry out, "Heaven help us!" When we can't solve a dilemma with our own wisdom we might say, "Heaven only knows!" We "thank heaven for 7-11!" We even have a flavor of ice cream called "Heavenly Hash" and a perfume named "Heaven-Sent" (which may have given rise to the expression "Stinks to high heaven!"). Admittedly, I am guilty of misusing the term myself on occasion. When I exchange e-mails with one of my preaching friends, I will occasionally encourage him with his preaching with the words, "Give 'em heaven!"
But what if there is no heaven? Have you ever allowed yourself to think about this? When I was growing up, I used to think about this all the time. What if everything I believed was a fairy tale, or worse yet a malicious lie? I remember listening to John Lennon's song "Imagine": "Imagine there's no heaven/It's easy if you try/No hell below us/Above us only sky." I remember thinking to myself: what if Lennon is right? Of course, whenever I would have these thoughts, it would quickly dawn on me that if there is no heaven and the resurrection is a sham, life is an exercise in futility.
That is Paul's whole point in 1 Cor 15:12-34. If the bodily resurrection is only an empty dream and this life is all there is, Christians are to be pitied. Fortunately, Paul will argue this life is not all there is. We all know the contemporary beer commercial that goes: "You only go around once, so you'd better grab all the gusto you can get." Once one denies the resurrection of the dead, this slogan seems entirely logical. But since Christ was raised from the dead, and since His kingdom culminates in the defeat of ...
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