Sermon: The Glorious Age to Come (Luke 20:27-40)

Luke 20.27-40 Click For Audio

The Glorious Age to Come

Luke 20:27-40

Introduction

I’m always amazed when opponents to Christianity bring up hypothetical questions in order to disprove the Bible, Jesus, or a vital doctrinal believe of Christianity.  If all a person has is some extreme rare hypothetical argument, they’re on very shaky ground to begin with.

For example, I am prolife.  The simple truth, apart from political agendas is that whenever an abortion takes place the baby (regardless how far along in his/her development) who was once alive is now dead.  A human heart was alive and beating and healthy and now it is dead and lifeless.  There is no getting around the fact that abortion is killing another human, one that is completely innocent and helpless.

Today, these brutal murders are clothed in language intentionally used to conceal the reality of the process.  The term prochoice is used, arguing that it is somehow the right of the mother to do whatever she choses with her own body.  When pressed, the pro-abortion side will offer extreme hypothetical arguments.  Well, what about in the case of a pregnancy that came about through rape.  We have you there!  What is your answer to that argument?

For example, it is commonly assumed that rape victims who become pregnant would naturally want abortions. But in the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done prior to this book, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent did not have abortions. This figure is remarkably similar to the 73 percent birth rate found in our sample of 164 pregnant rape victims. This one finding alone should cause people to pause and reflect on the presumption that abortion is wanted or even best for sexual assault victims.[1]

I bring this to your attention because these types of situations even in abortions are not the most common.  However, even in this example the argument falls flat on its face because 4/5 women who are pregnant from a sexual assault don’t want to get an abortion in the first place.

The issue is that abortion is always murder in 100% of the cases and it is never the godly answer even in cases when the pregnancy occurred as a result of a violent act.  Two wrongs never make a right.

I mention this because Jesus is asked an extreme hypothetical question.

In our text today, Jesus is presented with an extreme hypothetical question.  Like in the abortion example, His opponents do not even have their initial premise correct.  Their argument is senseless because what they are arguing for cannot happen in the first place.  Yet, their goal is to embarrass Jesus theologically.

Notice with me that Jesus shows His opponents and us just how vital it is to read and study God’s Word.  Our eternal future depends on an accurate understanding of basic Bible doctrines.  In this case, it’s the doctrine of the resurrection.  Also notice that Luke makes a point to show us the fact that the Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection and that this wrong belief or lack of a true belief is the ground for their lack of salvation.  If one is to be admitted entrance into the Kingdom of God, one must believe the doctrine of the resurrection.

Our Lord’s opponents this time are the group of Judaism known as the Sadducees.  They were the aristocrats of the Jewish religion.  They were the elite of the day.  The Sadducees were made up of the High Priest, Chief Priests and the Sanhedrin.  They were small in number but very powerful.

Usually, the Sadducees and the Pharisees were at odds with each other mainly over various issues related to doctrine.  The Sadducees, for example, denied the Resurrection, Spirit or Soul, Existence of Angels, and all the Bible except for the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses while the Pharisees did believe in all the above.  This made way for many hours of theological debate.  On such debate was the exact question put to Jesus about a woman who had seven husbands and the doctrine of the resurrection.

They believed Genesis-Deut but felt the rest of the Bible was not like these books.  According to them, the rest of the OT was simply a commentary on the Pentateuch.

Also, to better understand this text is to know that there was a long running debate between the Sadducees and the Pharisees on the details of the Resurrection.  Part of that debate was the question presented to Jesus.

Primary Claim- The glorious age to come is nothing like this present age

Human Condition- Our need of the hour is to realize that eternity is nothing like this present age.  Most often, we think of heaven and God in terms we are used to.  We think eternity is basically the same as this world and this life only longer and we often compare God to man.  Beloved the age to come is most glorious and should not be compared to this present age.

Please Hear from God as we read His Inspired Word…

Luke 20:27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,

28 and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.

29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children.

30 And the second

31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died.

32 Afterward the woman also died.

33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,

35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,

36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”

39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.”

40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

1.  The Levirate Marriage is for This Age (Luke 20:27-28)

27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,

28 and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.

We have this Law of God found in Deut. 25:5-10.  Here we understand the purpose of this law was that widows and their orphan children would be cared for and the name of the dead husband would continue so that there would be a furtherance of God’s covenant promises to His people.

Here, however, we see a perversion of this wonderful provision of God.

The Sadducees come to Jesus with an agenda.  They want to discredit Him to His followers by making Him look bad.  However, in the end, they’re the ones who are made to look bad and they are discredited.

Luke introduces them as a group in Israel that do not believe in the Resurrection…

Luke 20:27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,

In the Book of Acts, we have further information about this group…

Acts 23:8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.   

Teacher, they say…I hope you can see their condescending attitude in calling Jesus, Teacher.

Teacher…let us tell You what we understand to be true from God’s holy Word, the Books of Moses.  They are trying to position themselves in the position of authority.

We have in the Bible this Law and it is good and righteous.

Genesis 38:8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.”

Ruth 4:10 Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”

We should pause here and consider the Sadducees’ dilemma.  They were mistaken on how they understood the Levirate marriage.  They felt that because Moses commands this that there cannot be a resurrection because the woman would find herself married to multiple men.  In their thinking, either the writings of Moses are true or there is a resurrection but you cannot have both.   What they failed to understand is that this type of marriage is only for this present age, it does not continue in the age to come.  It’s a means whereby offspring would legally continue for the dead husband so that his name would continue and the children would receive their inheritance in this age.

2.  Man Speaks and Exposes His Folly

29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children.

30 And the second

31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died.

32 Afterward the woman also died.

33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

The main problem here is that these Sadducees were making themselves the authority over our Lord.  Jesus was supposed to answer to them.  When man places himself over the Word of God he will very quickly come to folly.  When man speaks from his own knowledge he will immediately speak as a fool.

We must always look to the authority of God’s Word and not our own opinions.   When the Bible speaks of the Resurrection we must believe it.  I’ve never experienced a resurrection; I’ve never seen anyone first had be raised from the dead.  However, Jesus believed in it, the OT writers believed in it, all the NT writers believed in it.  It is a reality.  Our Lord

Jesus, since you’re so into the idea of a resurrection, we’re going to show you just how silly the concept really is.  In their attempt to embarrass Jesus, they show their own lack of understanding.   They did not have a clue about God’s Word or the resurrection or the life to come.

They had no clue that… The glorious age to come is nothing like this present age.

They think that they can quote Moses to Jesus and stump Him.  They quote Scripture thinking that perhaps they can get Jesus to deny the authority of God’s Word.  They are completely wrong.

3.  God Speaks and Creation is Silent (Luke 20:34-40)

34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,

35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,

36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”

39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.”

40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

A.  The glorious age to come is nothing like this present age

Our Lord begins to expose them.  First, He points out the fact that in the age to come there is no marriage to each other because there is no death.  Part of the purpose for marriage is to bring two people together, a man and a woman, to begin a home that glorifies God and to propagate the human race.  Marriage is God’s institution…His idea for the good of everyone involved.  It is, however, only for this present age, not for the age to come because there is no need to propagate the human race because there is no more death.  No need to replace one generation with another.  The glorious age to come is nothing like this present age

The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,

The sons of this age…this has in mind the totality of the human race.  Not that everyone is or will be married but that marriage takes place as one of the common events in our world.

Notice…35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,

The second group Jesus mentions is a group from the first group…a sub group.  Out of the first group comes some who are worthy to attain the second age or the age to come by the resurrection.  Also notice, that the second group does not include the Sadducees…but those

Who are those considered worthy to enter the age to come by a resurrection?

It’s not hard to see that in this present age there is a fight for honor and fame.  Those worthy by the world’s standards are those who have a lot of money and a lot of power or control.  We must remember, The glorious age to come is nothing like this present age. 

The age to come is an age where humility and servant hood is sought.  It’s an age where man stops looking toward his own interests but seek the good of others.  It’s an age made up of the children of God glorified now through the resurrection.

John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Glory in the present age comes from self-promotion.  God alone grants glory in the age to come.

There is no more marriage

There is no more death

Because we will be like the angels…eternal in being

36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

In keeping with the logical flow of Jesus’ argument He makes sure they understand the reason why there is no marriage…36 for they cannot die anymore.

The reason we will not die is that we will be like the angels in that our bodies will last forever.  We will never get sick, have pain, or suffer the loss of a loved one because there is no more death.  Because there is no more death, there is no need for propagation of the species through the institution of marriage.  No more mortals will be created because in the life to come the mortals who have trusted Christ as Lord and Savior will go through the resurrection and be clothed with immortality.

1 Cor. 15:51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.   

Are you longing for that day when there will be no more sickness and death?  It seems like this week there has been an unusual number of deaths of people we know.  We also know folks who are ill.  I pray we are all sons and daughters of the resurrection and long to be clothed with immortality.  That’s why there is no marriage in heaven…we all are immortal.

The Sadducees believed that this woman was in an absurd predicament.  Whose wife will she be in the age to come?  What they fail to understand is that the age to come is fundamentally different.  No death in the world to come, no marriage in the world to come because the world to come is fundamentally different than this present world.

Jesus will prove to them that there is a resurrection and that they are the ones in the absurd predicament, one which will prove to be an horrific mistake.  In fact, He will prove the resurrection to them from the Books of Moses, the very Scripture they believe does not teach a resurrection.  But before He does, He throws in another tidbit where they are mistaken… because they are equal to angels.

Not only are they wrong about the resurrection, which they denied, they are also wrong about angels.  The resurrection is a reality and so are angels.  In fact, we will be like angels in the world to come after we undergo the resurrection.  All who are in Christ will experience this amazing event.  The resurrection of the body to a body which will never see decay.  Are you among those who will be found worthy of the resurrection unto life?

4.  The Resurrection Proven (Luke 20:37-40)

37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”

39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.”

40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

The point Jesus is making here is that the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are still alive because of the resurrection.  God is the God of the living.

Exodus 3:5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

6 And he said, “I am the God of your 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 at God.

God, himself, says very plainly, I am the God of your father…I am currently their God.  They currently worship me they are not dead but alive I am their God.

All this, straight from the Book of Moses called Exodus.

What is truly amazing is that Jesus specifically proves the reality of the resurrection from the very section of the Bible they accepted, namely, the Books of Moses.  Their problem was that they didn’t really even understand the Books they claimed to accept.

God spoke and all creation is silent.  Their complete lack of understanding is exposed.  Their motives are exposed.

Primary claim refocused

The glorious age to come is nothing like this present age

When we realize more and more the realities of the age to come, we’re drawn to Christ all the more.   Because of His death and resurrection we too, as believers will experience the same.  He was the prototype the Firstfruit of the resurrection.  Jesus received His glorified body as a result of His resurrection and so will we.  Once that happens everything will be different.

Have you ever felt limited by your current body?  Remember our glorified bodies will be nothing like our current ones.

1 Cor. 15:42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.

43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.  

We may suffer in this life.  We may have pain.  We get sick and suffer loss.  We live in the realm of sin and we too are sinners.  Please understand beloved, this age is dying.  It is about to be planted in the ground.  What will spring forth when death has died will be immortality and everything changes…no more sickness, death, disease, pain, suffering, loss, and no more sin.  We will live forever and praise God with reclaimed and remade bodies, bodies just like Jesus’.

I pray, we live lives now in anticipation of the age to come.  Be faithful followers of Christ for His glory and our good…and remember, The glorious age to come is nothing like this present age


[1] Rape, Incest and Abortion: Searching Beyond the Myths by David C. Reardon, Ph.D.

 

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