Lifted from the Grave


“Where were you when…” This is a question we ask around important events. During pivotal moments in history, we tend to remember our circumstances.

The longer we live the more of them we experience. For millennials, the biggest moment was probably 9/11. For all of us, a different kind would be the COVID19 pandemic and all of the “lockdowns” in response, that was historic moment stretched out over several months. Going back in history, we have the impeachment and scandal of President Bill Clinton, the death of Princess Diana, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the OJ Simpson Bronco chase, the Watergate scandal, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy. I probably missed some so I am sure I need correction. But that is not the point. The point is… Do you remember where you were during each of these events if you were around for it? Why?

Because it seemed important. It seemed like the world was changing. It seemed like life would never be the same and everyone was coming together to recognize it. What I want to do today is to recognize the greatest “Where were you when…” moment in all of human history. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the fulcrum of history. Everything hinges on this.

I remember when Pastor Thomas first told me that we would be preaching through a series on Sunday Morning about the exaltation of Jesus. Why is it so essential and so deeply good in the truest sense that we exalt Jesus? Read the Gospels! Read the Pauline letters. He is worthy of being lifted up. The Christian faith is not directed toward our being our best selves. The point of the Gospel is not for us. The point of the Gospel is the glory of God. And when we truly grasp the Gospel, we will lift up Jesus as Paul does in…

Ephesians 2:19–21 “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,”

We will look into the Scriptures and see how Jesus is exalted by the truth of the Gospel, and we will see that when we do that, it is better for us anyway. This is how things are supposed to be.

Christ physically died and came to life again in body and spirit.

Why is this so important? Why does it matter friend that Jesus died physically and arose physically? Why does it matter that His flesh was dead, but the same body, united with His soul, came back to the living?

Because God created Adam with a body and a soul. He created a whole human being. And that whole human being was corrupted by sin. All of us was corrupted by sin and all of me, not just my soul, not just my body faces death!

The only way for Him to redeem His whole creation was to redeem it soul and body. Our bodies were not created to experience deterioration and decomposition. Not just our souls. As Paul Ferguson put it, “People were created for life, not for death.”

Acts 2:24 “whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”

As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive." (v. 22)

Praise God, there is nothing that Adam did that Jesus cannot undo.

‌Luke 24:39, Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

Jesus wanted His disciples to be assured that it was Him, so he wanted them to touch Him and see that it was Jesus the God of heaven and the man of Nazareth.

The God of all eternity, of all of existence, the most majestic and pure being which we can’t even conceive of He became man to defeat not just the spiritual death of sin, but the physical death of it. To prove that there is nothing that Adam, sin, Satan, and death could do, and nothing that we could do, that He cannot undo.

What has he undone? Not just sin’s power over our souls, but over our bodies as well. Do you really believe that? Does your life show it?

To my brothers and sisters who follow Jesus, do you spiritualize your Christian life? Is it easy to, in our modern heresy, excuse our disobedience to God in the material realm because whether we’d phrase it this way or not, “God knows my heart?” Jesus resurrected physically and that resurrection power is for us not just to be right with God “positionally,” but to do right in this material world. He rose from the grave not so that we could flounder in laziness, sexual lust, and materialistic covetousness, but so that we could proclaim His victory over sin in our bodies.

And friend who may not know Christ, God tells us that Jesus rose bodily. He is not looking for someone to just change club memberships to the church. He is looking for a total wholesale conversion, soul and body. EVERYTHING! It is not that we must “clean up our act” to come to Christ, but we must forsake all and follow Him. We must turn away from sin, committing to serving Him with our bodies in order to come to Him.

There is nothing that Adam did that Jesus cannot undo.

Christ's resurrection exalts Him by what it declares to us.

Jesus is the Son of God.

Romans 1:4, "and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead."
Why is it that the power that Jesus showed in the resurrection declares that He is the Son of God? We don’t have much time to explain it, but I think for some of us when we hear Son of God, we think that makes Him a lesser form of God. Like when you have a family owned business, you want the dad. You don’t want the son coming and fixing your dishwasher. “Son of” is not a junior title.

The son of Will Baker, means we’re talking about a Baker. He has the essence of being Baker. The Son of God means we are talking about Someone Who has the essence of being God.

But coming back to our question, why is it that the ability to resurrect is a declaration of being God? Because resurrection is the power of life and death, and only God has that power. In Genesis, who breathed life into man? And throughout Scripture, we see that God alone has the power to decide when we die.

‌Jesus has satisfied God's wrath.

1 Corinthians 15:17, "And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!"

On Friday night, Pastor Thomas preached an excellent message on the results of the death of Christ, one of those being “propitiation” or this concept in the Bible that Jesus has satisfied God’s wrath. God hates sin because it opposes His divine nature. It twists His creation out of shape and prevents God’s creation from glorifying Him. It brings death and misery. God hates this so much that His wrath seethes against it.

And when Jesus was on the cross, He took that burning seething wrath on Himself. He died to satisfy His own Father’s wrath. But because He arose from the grave, we know that God’s wrath has been satisfied. It is over! As Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED.”

Have you ever read or watched a story when the hero returns from the final battle? For the ones waiting for him to come back from slaying the dragon, perhaps there is some tension built up. They do not know if he can win against the enemy, but on the horizon, they see a shape, perhaps bruised and bloodied, his sword covered in blood not his own. And as the hero limps closer, and they see his face, they know he has won.

Yes, there is a final battle still left to completely finish, and Jesus does not come limping back by any means! But when we see His risen form, we know how His “battle” went. We know the debt has been paid and God’s wrath against the sin of His people is spent.

‌Jesus has defeated death and Satan.

Hebrews 2:14, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil‌"

I have a question for everyone: On my way in here this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder, what is your problem?

Seriously, though, maybe you aren’t like me, (that is probably a good thing). I often think about the problems in my life. The issues that need to be solved, the barriers that need to be overcome. And I think, “If I could just figure this out, then I could…” What are those things that are making your life worse?

Christian, whether we recognize it or not, our biggest problem is sin. Our sin is what makes us so selfishly angry. Do we care about solving that problem? Our sin makes us so covetously lustful, do we care about that? Is that a problem to you? Do you long to be rid of this problem? Do you long to be rid of your resentment and bitterness? Do you long to be un-offendable by petty perceived slights because you have rid yourself of self-focus?

When we understand the gravity of our sin, we rejoice in the resurrection. When the fear of death is not just the uncertainty of what it feels like to pass from this life, but the fear of death becomes fear of what sin does to our souls and to our relationships, then we can truly be grateful and worshipful to God for the resurrection in Christ.

Those in Christ participate with Him in the effects of His resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:21–22 “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—”

The Bible gives us this concept throughout the New Testament that those who trust Christ by faith are “in Him.” That when Jesus died, we were in Him. When He arose, we are in Him. Because we are united with Him in a special way that He shares with us the results of His work on our behalf.

This union with Christ defies analogy. It is impossible to come up with something that really would illustrate this truth completely.  But in one sense, this idea of being “in Christ” and participating with Him reminds me of one of the shows I watched as a kid. Hopefully, you are familiar with it. I forget sometimes that some of you may be a little younger than me, so my references will be dated.

‌The Power Rangers were a group of costumed martial artists that fought evil monsters and orcs trying to attack “the city.” At the end of almost every episode, the monster would magically grow to the size of a skyscraper and so they would get in their Zords, which were giant vehicles that looked like animals or something else. All of the Zords would combine into a robot called a megazord. And in the Megazord, they fought the giant monster.

The Power Rangers on their own could not fight the huge monster, but in the Megazord, they participated in the battle. Now, I do not want to trivialize our union with Christ. And Jesus is not an automaton (meaning a machine) that we control, but hopefully this helps us understand what it means to be in Christ to some small extent. Really, if you want to understand this, you must study and read Paul.

And when we do, we recognize the glory of God’s wisdom that we would be in Christ. What we are doing today is not just learning these things, we are directing our affections by them! What good is it to know these truths about Christ, if they do not do that which they were intended to do? To glorify God in Christ. We are redeemed for His praise. (Isaiah 43)

Jesus was raised to make us righteous before God.

Romans 4:25 “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”

Because Jesus rose from the dead, I know that I stand as righteous before God. As we have already said, the resurrection is a stamp of God’s approval on Jesus. We know that He is God because of the resurrection. All of God’s wrath is spent. He has nothing left to put on Jesus.

I am justified in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

We are so thankful for the truth in this verse. Those who have trusted Jesus have become the righteousness of God because Jesus became sin for us. He was the essence of sin! Wow! But don’t miss those last two words, it is only “in Him”, in Christ, that become righteous.  Do you see how this exalts Christ? That for me to raise up the righteousness God has given me in thanksgiving, I am in reality raising up Christ Himself. I cannot be thankful for my righteousness without exalting Jesus, because I am united to Christ.

Jesus is the guarantee of our resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:20 “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

The “firstfruits” is a reference to the Old Testament practice of bringing the firstfruits of the harvest as an offering to God.

Leviticus 23:9–10, "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest."

Paul uses this term as a Biblical example of something that is the first of many. Because Jesus arose from the grave, all who are in Christ will rise from the grave too!

It is like follow the leader, only it is like the children are glued together!

No matter what happens in life, no matter the difficult. No matter who opposed me. No matter what anyone says about me. My Savior, to Whom I am united in the most fundamental and irreversible way, rose from the grave. And when I think of my praise to God for the hope that is certain we have in Christ, the stickiness of the glue goes both ways! Not only is it that my resurrection is because of His, it is connected to His so that Jesus’ resurrection is lifted up and exalted when mine is lifted up and exalted.

God has made us alive together with Jesus.

 Ephesians 2:5–6 “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”

God has given us new life in Him.

It is in the life of Jesus that we experience the new life in Christ. And it is in our new life that we can live for Christ.

Romans 6:5–6 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”

‌Romans 6:11 "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."


With these thoughts of union with Christ, and the two “Adams,” I want to finish our time together by asking ourselves the same question I emphasized at the beginning. Perhaps it is the most important question I could ask anyone anywhere, “Where were you when Jesus rose from the grave?” Friend, were you in Christ? When He took that first breath of resurrection life, were you in Him?

If you would indulge me in a bit of redemptive postmodernism, it asks a similar question to the song which we sang on Friday, “Were You There?” In keeping with the them of our Lord’s death, we did not sing the final, triumphant verse, were you there when He rose up from the dead? Let us sing that song in a moment together.

This time if you were in Christ, rejoice in the answer to that rhetorical question! Yes I was there! I died with Christ rose with Him to walk in a new life! And for those who have not trusted Christ, if you were not in Him, you were and are dead in our first father, Adam. I say with Jesus, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, repent and believe the Gospel.

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
‌Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
‌Were you there when He rose up from the dead?

Let’s pray.

Discussion Questions
  • Are we sinners because we sin or because Adam sinned?
  • What does the "first Adam/second Adam" principle tell us?
  • Give some reasons for why Christ is worthy of being "lifted up."
  • Why is a physical, material resurrection so important?
  • How does the philosophy of "God knows my heart so my outward actions aren't as important" contradict a belief in the bodily resurrection?
  • How does your approach to daily life and choices reflect your belief in the resurrection?
  • How does the resurrection show that Christ is God?
  • How does death affect our daily lives? How does the resurrection help us respond to these effects?
  • How should the resurrection of Christ make you feel about God? About yourself and your life? About death?


Jay - April 1st, 2024 at 4:48pm

Pastor Will. Very good sermon content and presentation. Also, good questions for discussion. May God bless you for your thoughtfulness of God's word.

- April 1st, 2024 at 9:43pm

Ken and Jay, thank you for your kind words. I am a blessed young pastor to have such godly encouragement. Lord bless you. - Pastor Will

Ken - April 1st, 2024 at 8:35pm

I agree and second Jay. A different perspective that is biblical about reason for physical resurrection affecting our thinking about saving not just soul but body. God bless you Will.

- April 1st, 2024 at 9:43pm

Ken and Jay, thank you for your kind words. I am a blessed young pastor to have such godly encouragement. Lord bless you. - Pastor Will






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