Sermon #148                                                 Luke Sermons


     Title:          “Children of the Resurrection”

     Text:          Luke 20:27-38

     Subject:     The Sadducees and The Resurrection

     Date:         Sunday Evening — February 20, 2004

     Tape #       Y-67a

     Readings:   Bob Pruitt & Bob Duff



My subject tonight is — “Children of the Resurrection.” Our text will be Luke 20:27-38.


In this portion of Scripture we have the Sadducees’ attempt to entrap our Lord Jesus. The Sadducees were the smallest but by far the most wealthy and influential of the Jewish sects. They were the aristocrats of Judaism, and for the most part controlled the priesthood and the temple. Though that was the case, the Sadducees were not commonly respected by the people. They, supposing themselves to be smarter than God, denied the resurrection. They were the most liberal sect of the Jews. They were religious; but their religion was the religion of infidelity.


The Sadducees’ religion was nothing more that a philosophical system of carnal reason with religious overtones. They did not believe in the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the dead, or eternity. They did not believe heaven and hell real. The Sadducees believed that when men and women die, they die like dogs, that the death of the body is the end of a person’s existence. They used the Scriptures, taught the Scriptures, and professed to believe the Scriptures. As we see in the passage we have before us, they could even recite the Scriptures from memory. These were “smart” men, well-educated, and very knowledgeable. They were sure the Lord Jesus would be completely stumped by their pretentious question. But their religion was altogether a religion of infidelity; and they were completely stumped by the Master’s answer. Let’s read Luke 20:27-38 together.


(Luke 20:27-38)  “Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, (28) Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. (29) There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. (30) And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. (31) And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. (32) Last of all the woman died also. (33) Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife. (34) And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: (35) But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: (36) Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (37) Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. (38) For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”


Proposition: Our Lord Jesus Christ graciously turned the quibbles of these infidels into a opportunity to teach us that there is a resurrection of the dead and that all the children of God are “the children of the resurrection.”


Divisions: In this passage of Scripture, as we consider the ludicrous question of the Sadducees and the answer our Master gave them, four things stand out as matters of great importance.


1.   Religious Infidelity.

2.   Worthiness for Heaven.

3.   The Resurrection Life.

4.   The Word of God.


Religious Infidelity.


I.       These Sadducees are glaring examples of religious infidelity.


The vast majority of people in this world who profess the name of Christianity, including the most powerful and most influential religious leaders of it, are really only religious infidels. Their religion is a matter of convenience, not conviction. It is, for the most part, a religion, which holds the Word of God, the truth of God, the gospel of God, the will of God, and the glory of God in utter contempt, just like these Sadducees.


These Sadducees laughed at the doctrine of the resurrection. They were simply too smart, too educated, too enlightened to believe such religious sentiments.


Their Question


The question they posed to the Lord Jesus illustrates their arrogance. There are several things which stand out to me in this question.


·       The Sadducees’ pretended reverence for Christ — “Master.”

·       Their pretended reverence for the Word of God — “Moses wrote.

·       Their pretentious piety — “Whose wife shall she be?


These men presented their question as though it were a factual thing, as though they were really interested in knowing the answer. Any statistician will tell you that you would have a far greater chance of winning the lottery than of this actually happening. The only thing these men were interested in was raising a question, which they were confident the Master could not answer.


We will be wise to mark the things recorded here and learn from them not to allow modern religious infidels to entrap us. When carping religious infidels want to argue with you, just ignore them. Give them plain statements of Scripture, and leave them alone. If you get into a hissing contest with a snake, you are going to lose. Such people always…


·       Try to press difficult and abstruse points.

·       Act in dishonesty.

·       Deserve contempt.


Their Ignorance


Turn back to the 12th chapter of Mark (v. 24). There we read that our Lord Jesus plainly told this same group of men that they were totally ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God.


(Mark 12:24)  “And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?”


Spiritual ignorance and doctrinal error may always be traced to these two things: (1.) Ignorance of The Word of God and (2.) Ignorance of God’s Power. These men did not believe in the resurrection of the dead because they did not know the teaching of Holy Scripture.


I do not doubt for a moment that they knew the letter of the Scriptures. No doubt, they could quote huge passages from the Bible from memory. I do not doubt that they were very keenly aware of the historic events and chronological order of things recorded in the Scriptures. They knew the history of Israel, and even knew what the prophecies of the Old Testament said. But they had absolutely no knowledge of the meaning and message of Holy Scripture. Their understanding was nothing but the understanding of carnal reason and religious tradition.


The Message of Scripture


Do you understand the message of Holy Scripture? The Book of God is all about Christ. The message of this blessed Book is the gospel of Christ.


(Luke 24:27)  “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”


(Luke 24:32)  “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”


(Luke 24:44-45)  “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”


(John 5:39)  “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”


(1 Peter 1:23-25)  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”


Listen to me now. Listen carefully. Spiritual knowledge is not merely doctrinal knowledge, creedal knowledge, logical knowledge, and factual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is the revealed knowledge of a Person, and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ.


Christ the Resurrection


These silly men wanted to argue about the doctrine of the resurrection. But the resurrection is more than a doctrine. It is a person. Christ is the Resurrection.


(John 11:25)  “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”


You cannot know the Person without knowing the doctrine; but you certainly can know the doctrine without knowing the Person. Christ is my resurrection and my life.


·       Representatively in Redemption


(Ephesians 2:4-6)  “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”


·       Experimentally in Regeneration


(John 5:25)  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”


(Revelation 20:6)  “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.”


(Colossians 3:1-3)  “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”


·       Prospectively in the Last Day!


(Colossians 3:4)  “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”


The Gospel


The truth of God, the gospel of his grace, is much more than doctrinal, historical facts. — The gospel is a person, the crucified Christ.


(John 14:6)  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”


Without question, this Person is revealed and made known to us and in us in the context of revealed, doctrinal truth. But life and salvation comes by knowing God himself in the person of our all glorious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God.


(John 17:3)  “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”


(2 Timothy 1:12)  “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”


Salvation is not merely knowing about Christ. Salvation is knowing Christ.


·       As my God.

·       As my Surety.

·       As my Substitute.

·       As my King.

·       As my Priest.

·       As my Prophet.

·       As my Savior!


The Power Of God


Spiritual ignorance, doctrinal error, and heresy of every kind, according to our Savior’s word, must be traced to ignorance of the power of God. I take that to mean three things. These three things you will find throughout the Scriptures are what is meant by the power of God.


1.     Spiritual ignorance arises from and must be traced to an utter ignorance of GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY His absolute authority as God.


2.     Spiritual ignorance arises from and must be traced to an utter ignorance of GOD’S OMNIPOTENCE His almightiness as God.


3.     Spiritual ignorance arises from and must be traced to an utter ignorance of GOD’S GOSPEL, which is the power of God unto salvation.


(Romans 1:15-16)  “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”


These Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection because they were totally ignorant of God’s sovereignty, his omnipotence, and his gospel. All heresy, all spiritual ignorance must be attributed to these things.


All false religion, all free will, works religion denies the sovereignty of God’s will and purpose in election and predestination, the omnipotence of his power and grace in redemption, regeneration, and effectual calling, and the power of the gospel’s good news of redemption accomplished by the blood of his dear Son. — The preaching of the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.”


(1 Corinthians 1:17-24)  “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (18) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (20) Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (21) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (22) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: (23) But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”


Worthiness for Heaven


Now, let’s look at our Lord’s answer to these carping infidels. In it you will find sweet and precious things for your soul.


(Luke 20:34-36)  “And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: (35) But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: (36) Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”


II.    The first thing he tells us is that there are some people in this world who are “accounted worthy to obtain” the world to come.


It is written, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50). “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). Yet, our Lord Jesus asserts here, and the Word of God elsewhere declares, that there are some people in this world who are counted worthy to obtain the world to come.


(Colossians 1:12-14)  “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”


(2 Thessalonians 1:3-5)  “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; (4) So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (5) Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.”


Who are these people? What makes them worthy to obtain the world to come? These four things identify them; and these four things make them worthy of heavenly glory.


1.       The Record Book of Heaven! — Their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, written there from eternity as worthy (Rom. 8:28-30).

2.       The Redeemer’s Precious Blood! — The blood of Christ has freed them from all sin.

3.       The Righteousness of God! — They are completely, perfectly and immutably righteous in Christ, made the very “righteousness of God in him.”

4.       The Regeneration of Grace! — Being born-again by God the Holy Spirit, they are made “partakers of the divine nature.” Christ is in them; and Christ in them is “the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).


Almost every year I travel to a foreign country preaching the gospel of Christ. I have crossed the borders of our nation north, south, east, and west. Whenever I leave this country and cross into another, three things are required.


·       I have to have a birth certificate to prove my citizenship.

·       I have to have a visa from the country receiving me.

·       I have to have a clean record, no criminal record.


Soon I will leave this land of sorrow and sin. I hope to enter into the bliss and glory of heaven. I hope to stand forever accepted as a citizen of the New Jerusalem. Here is the basis of my hope.


A BIRTH CERTIFICATE — The Lord God has given me a new nature (2 Cor. 5:17). There is in me a new man, created of God in righteousness and true holiness.


A VISA I have a right to enter into heaven itself by the blood of Christ, because I am robed in his righteousness. God says, “It must be perfect to be accepted,” and in Christ I am perfect! He has made me perfectly righteous before God!


A CLEAR RECORD — Jesus Christ has purged away all my sins with his own precious blood. Therefore God will never charge me with any sin (Rom. 4:8). When I stand before God and he searches the books for iniquity and sin under my name, he will find none (Jer. 50:20).


Do you have what God requires? Are you worthy to obtain the world to come? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall obtain in him all that God requires to make you worthy of heavenly glory!


The Resurrection Life


III. Look at verses 34-36 again. Our Savior not only assures us of the resurrection, but also gives us a slight glimpse of what life shall be like in the resurrection glory awaiting us.


(Luke 20:34-36)  “And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: (35) But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: (36) Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”


There is much, much more in these verses than I can expound now. But let me show you three things.


A.  There will be a resurrection of the dead.


When our Lord Jesus comes again, there will be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust. This fact is inscribed upon every man’s heart and conscience by the finger of God in creation. Anyone who denies the resurrection is a liar. He lies against his own conscience.


This doctrine of the resurrection is the doctrine of both the Old and New Testaments (Ex. 3:6; Job 19:25-26; Ps. 16:9-10; 49:15; 73:24; Hos. 6:1-2; Dan. 12:2; John 5:29; 1 Cor. 15:35-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).


(Job 19:25-27)  “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (26) And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (27) Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”


(John 5:29)  “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.”


(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)  “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. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) 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. (16) 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: (17) 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. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”


B.  In the resurrection God’s saints shall be as the angels of God.


In the resurrection we “shall be equal unto the angels.” What does that? I am certain that it contains a depth of meaning far greater than I have yet fathomed. But I am equally certain that it means these things. In the resurrection


1.    We will be completely free of all carnal distinctions, weaknesses, cares, needs, and passions.


There will be no need for marriage and procreation because there will be no more sickness, sorrow, bereavement or death! “Neither can they die any more!” — “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power!” And there will be no imperfection of love and unity among God’s saints.


2.   We will, like the angels of God, possess the constant, full knowledge and assurance of God’s approval.


3.   We will enjoy uninterrupted assurance of complete security with Christ.


4.   We will have perfect, uninterrupted communion with our Redeemer.


5.   Like the heavenly angels, we will always be engaged in the suitable, gratifying service of our great God. — Worshipping Him! — Singing His Praise! — Celebrating His Wondrous Works! — Doing His Will!


6.   We will have unbroken, everlasting rest!


7.   Like those celestial spirits above, we will gaze upon our God and Savior. “They do always behold the face of God.” “They shall see his face!”


(Psalms 17:15)  “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”


The God of the Living


Now, read verses 37-38.


(Luke 20:37-38)  “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. (38) For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”


C.  He who is our God is the God of the living.


Again, there is much more here than I can deal with in detail. But certain things are clear.


1.   God’s saints who have left this world are not dead, but living.


2.   Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob represent all God’s elect.


·       They were chosen of God.

·       They were heirs of a covenant.

·       They believed God.

·       They lived in communion with God.

·       They did not fully enjoy the fulfillment of God’s promises until they left this vale of tears.


(Hebrews 11:13-16)  “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (14) For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. (15) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. (16) But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”


·       Gods glory was wrapped up in their lives. — “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”


The Word of God


IV.           Let me show you one more thing in this passage. Every time I read verse 37 I think to myself, “What a vast, immense Book the Word of God is!”


The more I study it, the bigger it gets. This is a Book altogether beyond the reach of our puny brains. When we have studied it as deeply and as fully as possible, when we have taken in and comprehended everything that it is possible for us to take in and comprehend in this mortal frame, we will have only begun to scratch the surface. We will be learning the secrets of “the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever” throughout the endless ages of eternity.


Let me show you what I mean. Turn back to the passage our Lord quotes in verse 37 (Ex. 3:6).


(Exodus 3:1-6)  “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. (2) And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (3) And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. (4) And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. (5) And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (6) Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”


Now, you tell me — Who would ever have dreamed that this passage of Scripture has anything to do with the resurrection, if the Son of God himself had not stated it? No one in history ever gave God’s word to Moses such an interpretation, until the Lord Jesus explained it in our text. Someone once wrote…


“The Bible is the word of the living God; each letter was penned with an Almighty finger; each word came from the everlasting lips; each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit. Moses wrote with his fiery pen; God guided that pen. David played and sang the sweet psalms, but God moved his fingers over the strings and taught him the words. When Peter, James, and John tell of their Lord’s life, death, and resurrection, it is the voice of God, not a man’s voice. The very words are God’s words — the words of the Eternal, the Invisible, the Almighty Jehovah. The Bible is God’s word; and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it saying, ‘I am the book of God; man, READ ME! I am God’s writing, open my pages, for I was written by God; He is my author and you will find Him manifested on every page.’”


Read this Book; and as you read it, pray that God the Holy Spirit who wrote it, will take the things of Christ in it and reveal them to you.


Oh, what great, boundless, free, indescribable grace the Lord God has bestowed upon us in Christ, making us in him to be…

·       The Children of God!

·       The Children of the Resurrection!

·       And “Accounted Worthy to Obtain that World!


(Psalms 27:4)  “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.”


Illustration: The Robin’s Eggs


Soon, very soon, I shall have that which I desire. “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!