Series of 13 Sermons by Pastor Ron Thomas On
"Our Final Journey"


801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040

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Final Journey Series

All of us pray for and anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ, and the catching out of the saints. What a wonderful way to begin OUR FINAL JOURNEY! Wouldn't it be great to be walking around one moment and the next, up in the clouds with Jesus? Nothing would be left behind, no unfinished business. There would be no settling of an estate, no casket and plot to pick out, no need for a grave marker, no funeral, no body left behind to bury. Better RAPTURED than rigor mortis! But what if we go the way of past generations, as the Bible says "the way of all flesh?" What if we die and are buried before the rapture of the saints? We know that to be absent from this body, is to be present with the Lord. God has given us the victory in death, but it forces us to leave with unfinished business. We must leave a body behind along with an atmosphere of grief and loss.

Even if we are not included in the number of those who will be caught out into the clouds one day, we along with those who have preceded us, have some comfort and consolation. The Lord one day will take care of our unfinished business. Death will not have the final word. For some of us, on our journey through eternity, there will come a wonderful and powerful moment called the RESURRECTION.


Introduction: On OUR FINAL JOURNEY, we will all either experience or witness the miraculous event known as the RESURRECTION. Truly this is the most blessed and important event found in the Word of God. The apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15, tells us that minus the resurrection of the dead, Christ is not risen, our faith and our preaching is vain, and our hope is a false hope.

What is the resurrection? The word "resurrection" comes from the Greek word anastasis, an-as'-tas-is which means a raising up, rising as one would rise from a seat. So, what is to rise up? I Corinthians 15:11-12 says, "Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" The word "resurrection," has to do with dead bodies! The soul spirit does not need a resurrection, it goes immediately into eternity to first meet God and then either to Heaven or Hell. It is the body that dies and returns to dust. It is the body that is laid in the grave or cast into the sea. So the resurrection has to do with a time when dead bodies, corpse if you will, shall be quickened back to life, rising up from the grave!

In the previous message entitled BETWEEN DEATH AND THE RESURRECTION, we spoke about the soul spirit existence for the departed dead, both lost and saved. There is no way that we can fathom what it is like to be alive, yet bodiless. In II Corinthians 5:1-4, we get a sense that though the soul spirit existence gives us all our senses and perception, it leaves us somewhat incomplete. Those in their soul spirit existence are not yet complete, their redemption is not complete, that is the redemption of their bodies at the rapture or resurrection.

Paul says, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." The soul spirit existence is between changes, as if naked. It must be like wearing one of those hospital gowns. You have clothes on, but there is a draft! The soul spirit existence is not our eternal state! We have been promised a new body. The resurrection provides that new glorified change of clothes! Who will be resurrected? The answer is obvious, ...dead people!

Notice John 5:28-29. "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Here we learn that everyone who has experienced death both saved and lost, righteous and unrighteous, shall also experience a resurrection. There will be a resurrection unto life, and one unto damnation.

When will the resurrection take place? The resurrection unto life is also called the "first resurrection" in Revelation 20:5-6. "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." Here we learn that the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the unrighteous shall take place at different times, the resurrection of the righteous being first! So, the resurrection of those who are "dead in Christ," shall precede the resurrection of the lost.

The Bible also tells us that this "first resurrection" or resurrection of the saved, is subdivided into two groups and times. Notice Revelation 20:4-5. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." Here we see two groups included in the "first resurrection."

The first group sitting on thrones ruling are the saints of this present age who will have been resurrected or raptured at the first phase of the Second Coming of Christ. They will have received their glorified bodies.

The second group are those who have passed through the tribulation period and had given their lives for the witness of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. These will no doubt be given their resurrection bodies at the return of Christ following the seven years of tribulation.

There is a third group identified as "the rest of the dead," which are not included in this "first resurrection." Verse 5 says, "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." After the reign of Christ upon the earth for 1,000 years, the unsaved dead will be called from their graves to stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgement.

So, when will our resurrection take place? Our resurrection will take place just prior to the rapture or catching out of the saints. Notice I Thessalonians 4:13-17. "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." The word "prevent" in verse 15, actually means to come before or to precede. Paul tells us that the rapture of the saved living shall not precede the resurrection of the "dead in Christ." It is only right that the "dead in Christ," precede the living in this glorious, miraculous change!

What will the resurrection body be like? In one of his lighter moments, Benjamin Franklin penned his own epitaph. He didn't profess to be a born-again Christian, but it seems he must have been influenced by Paul's teaching of the resurrection of the body. Here's what he wrote:

The Body of B. Franklin, Printer, Like the Cover of an old Book, Its contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Guilding, Lies here, Food for Worms, But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believ'd, Appear once more In a new & more perfect Edition, Corrected and amended by the Author."

The transformation brought about by the resurrection will do more than correct and amend. Our resurrected bodies will be transformed and will be marvelous! The difference between our present bodies and our resurrection bodies will be with few exceptions, like night and day! For example:

Our resurrection bodies will be recognizable. Philippians 3:21 says, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." Our bodies will be fashioned like the resurrection body of Jesus. He was recognized by His disciples after His resurrection. Someone said that the only earth made things in Heaven will be the nail prints in the hands and feet of Jesus. Revelation 1:7 tells us, "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen."

Our resurrection bodies will be imperishable. I Corinthians 15:42 says, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption." Praise God, no more hang nails or hemorrhoids!

Our resurrection bodies will be respectable. I Corinthians 15:43a says, "It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory." The word "dishonour" speaks of that which is shameful, disgraceful and a reproach. Have you ever found yourself, underdressed? Everyone had on formal wear and you showed up casual. It will not be so in heaven. We shall be able to stand unashamed in the presence of angels and God Himself because we shall "be like Him!" We will be dressed for eternity!

Our resurrection bodies will be powerful. I Corinthians 15:43 says, "It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power." In our earthly bodies, we are faced with all sorts of limitations. In our heavenly bodies we shall be able to perform feats far beyond our present capacity! The universe will be our playground.

Our resurrection bodies will be spiritual. I Corinthians 15:44 says, "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." This does not mean that our resurrected bodies will have no substance, but that they will be made of different substance. Notice Luke 24:38-43. "And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them." The resurrected body of Jesus could pass through walls, suddenly appear then vanish, yet at the same time it was real and tangible. Obviously we will be able to eat and drink in Heaven and on the earth. Perhaps there will be some Blue Bell around. (Ed. Note: Blue Bell is a premium brand of ice cream, of which Bro. Thomas is very fond),

Why is a resurrection necessary? The answer is at least two fold.

First, the change is necessary for the purpose of redemption. We have a "great salvation." God has made provision for all of us, body, soul, and spirit. Our salvation encompasses regeneration, sanctification, and glorification. In Ephesians 1:13-14 we read, "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." Jesus is the "author and finisher of our faith." Jesus will reclaim everything lost in the fall! We have a great Redeemer!

Second, the change is necessary for the purpose of residence. I Corinthians 15:47-50 says, "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." How do astronauts dress when they are strapped into the Space Shuttle and launched into space? They must wear space suits especially prepared for a new environment! Street clothes will not cut it in outer space! So it is with the resurrection. Flesh and blood will not cut it in Heaven! We need a new body, especially prepared for a new environment!

Is there any proof of a resurrection? I Corinthians 15:22-23 says, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." The empty tomb is proof that Christ is risen, therefore guaranteeing our own future resurrection at His coming.

The greatest proof of the resurrection is the transformed life. II Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Is there any proof in your life of the resurrection? Some people have a profession, but no possession. Are you ready for the return of Jesus Christ in the air? Will your resurrection be unto damnation or unto life?

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