Hitching Our Hope To Heaven

April 2, 2023 

Message Big Idea

Sometimes we get stuck thinking that this life is all we will ever have. The Apostle Paul tells us otherwise. In fact, perishable bodies will not inherit the imperishable Kingdom of Heaven. This change for those in Christ will happen in an instant, a twinkling of an eye. Thus, we will put on immortality with Christ, asking Death, “where is your sting?”  Because of this, we must be steadfast in our present work. We labor for the Lord because of our promised hope in Christ (1 Cor. 15:58). 

Lean In

  • Take a moment to reflect (if you are going through this on your own) or share (if you are with others in a group setting): What are you grateful for today? What are you struggling with today?
  • Describe a time when you became very aware of your physical limitations. What happened? Was it an injury or an illness? 

Look Down

  • Read 1 Corinthians 15 (Read twice – NRSV and either NLT or Message)
  • Take a moment to briefly retell the passages in your own words.
  • What words or phrases “jumped off the page” and intrigued you the most? Why?

Look Out

  • John David mentioned Bryan Johnson, a 45 year old tech-entrepreneur, who spends roughly $2 million a year to reverse the effects of aging. How is his attitude prevalent throughout secular culture? What does it say about youth? Technology? Progress?
  • John also mentioned how first-century Greek philosophers viewed the physical and the body as lower than the spiritual. How do we observe this perspective within the Church?  Do we see our bodies, corruptible though they may be, as good gifts from God? If not, what is the prevailing view?

Look In

  • What does 1 Cor. 15:50 tell us about the current state of our bodies? What does that mean for inheriting the Kingdom of God? What change needs to occur and why?
  • Look at 1 Cor. 15:51-52. How will our bodies be changed? Do you find yourself embracing the “mystery” or longing to know the specifics?  
  • Consider 1 Cor. 15:53-58 and Death’s ultimate fate. How does this knowledge help us today? In what ways can it help in times of pain, suffering, and grief?  
  • Paul provides some practical advice to live in response to these truths concerning our present perishable bodies and our future imperishable ones. What does it mean to “be steadfast, immovable” and “always abounding in the work of the Lord?”

Live It Out

  • What is one thing God seems to be asking you to do in response to this passage? (i.e., “I will ….”)
  • Who can you tell about this “I will” statement in the next 48 hours?
  • Journal about your time in God’s Word this week. Stop to listen to what He might be telling you. Celebrate His presence through His Word!
  • Recall Henri Nouwen’s observations that our lives are brief periods of time “in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment.”  Contemplate our current perishable state and our promised incorruptible body.  Consider how we can experience the grief and sadness of the present while clinging to our hope in Christ.
  • Perhaps this Holy Week provides a picture of the Christian life and the full spectrum of emotions in which we declare Christ as King on Palm Sunday, experience Him crucified on Friday, dwell in the silence of His death on Saturday, and witness His resurrection on Easter.

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