The Natural Comes Before the Spiritual

Text: I Corinthians 15:35-49

 

I.         It’s spring and gardener’s are out putting seeds into the ground, looking forward to crops of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

            A.        Yet, no gardener puts in a seed expecting the seed to get bigger. The seeds stop being seeds, they “die” if you will, and become plants - I Corinthians 15:36-37

            B.        Paul uses this basic concept to show that this physical, natural body that we each occupy is not going with us in the resurrection - I Corinthians 15:42-44

                        1.         He returns to the same point in II Corinthians 5:1-4

                        2.         Physical bodies wear out. They are not designed for eternal life.

                        3.         We look forward to one day having a spiritual body - I Corinthians 15:52-55

            C.        A plant is greater than a seed and the spiritual body is greater than the physical body

II.        However, things must go in their proper order - I Corinthians 15:46

            A.        An order that is repeatedly illustrated for us

            B.        God made a covenant with Abraham that focused on physical blessings - Genesis 17:1-8

                        1.         As a reminder of that covenant was the mark of circumcision - Genesis 17:11-12

                        2.         But that covenant was broken by Israel, to be replaced - Jeremiah 31:31-34

                        3.         The second was superior to the first - Hebrews 8:6

                        4.         The second covenant was marked spiritually - Colossians 2:11-14

                                    a.         Notice the old covenant “died” being nailed to the cross.

                                    b.         But the new covenant was one focused on spiritual promises - Romans 2:28-29

                        5.         First the natural, then the spiritual

            C.        When a Israelite gave birth to a child, that child was considered a part of the nation

                        1.         But now there is a second birth - John 3:1-6

                        2.         The physical, natural birth comes first, but it is followed by the spiritual birth. The spiritual cannot proceed the physical.

                        3.         The spiritual birth is a transformation - Romans 6:1-7

                        4.         The person so born again is superior to the person they were before

            D.        The kingdom of Israel had a location and boundaries - Exodus 19:3-6

                        1.         Its laws were not for everyone - Deuteronomy 4:7-8

                        2.         But that kingdom ceased to exist; yet, it gave birth to something greater, a kingdom not of this world - John 18:36

                                    a.         Its people are now the chosen race - I Peter 2:9

                                    b.         It is a spiritual house - I Peter 2:5

                                    c.         With citizenship in heaven - Philippians 3:20

                        3.         You can’t find this kingdom located on any map, but it is greater than the one it replaced - Hebrews 12:28

            E.        The kingdom of Israel had an army with weapons

                        1.         But God planned a kingdom that would no longer need physical weapons - Isaiah 2:1-4

                        2.         Our warfare is with words - II Corinthians 10:3-5

                        3.         Like physical Israel, every member of the spiritual kingdom can be called upon to fight – not physical battles, spiritual ones - II Timothy 2:3

            F.        Worship was conducted by an earthly priesthood - Exodus 28:41

                        1.         They conducted service in a physical place using physical sacrifices - Hebrews 9:1-7; 10:1-4

                        2.         But our high priest is not of this world - Hebrews 10:11-12

                        3.         Our worship is of spiritual sacrifice - Romans 12:1-2

III.       What does this mean?

            A.        The concept of Jesus returning to set up an earthly kingdom and rule here on earth doesn’t make sense

                        1.         Why go back to the seed, now that the plan has grown?

                        2.         The physical has past and replaced with the spiritual.

            B.        Why attempt to bind the old law when the new is so much greater?

                        1.         Galatians 3:24 - The Law existed to bring us to Christ

                        2.         We do not go back - Galatians 5:1-4

            C.        Why think you can live in the world and reach heaven? - Galatians 2:20

IV.      Have you been born again into Christ’s kingdom?

            A.        Hearing the word - I Peter 1:22-25

            B.        Having faith - I Peter 1:3-5

            C.        Being baptized - Galatians 3:26-27


Based on an article by Terry W. Benton