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THE RISEN CHRIST IS NO SPIRIT!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, December 10, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“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” (Luke 24:39).


We live in a time of great confusion and growing spiritual anarchy here in the Western world. On every hand we see people who say they honor Christ, and yet very often they do not believe that He rose bodily from the dead.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus was raised as a “divine spirit being” or as an “invisible spirit creature” (quoted in Walter Martin, Ph.D., The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House Publishers, 1985, p. 97).

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, said, “The human, material concept, or Jesus disappeared, while the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p. 334). Mrs. Eddy said that Christ, “would rise again in the spiritual realm of reality…he would disappear to material sense” (ibid., p. 34).

Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of The Worldwide Church of God, said, concerning Christ, “The resurrected body was no longer human” (The Plain Truth, October 1959, p. 30). Armstrong said, “Nowhere does the Scripture say…that God had Him get back into the human body that had died” (The Plain Truth, April 1963, p. 10).

The Bahai religion says, “Christ did not rise from the dead. Resurrection of the body is an unintelligible matter, contrary to natural laws” (Bahai Proofs, p. 155).

Liberal Protestantism also says that Jesus did not rise physically from the dead. A famous liberal Protestant, Harry Emerson Fosdick, said, “I do not believe in the resurrection of the flesh…The resurrection of the flesh was a mental [thing]…I do not believe in the physical return of Jesus” (Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Modern Use of the Bible, Lectures IV and V). Fosdick did not believe that Jesus Christ is now living in a material, glorified body of flesh and bones. As I learned at two liberal Protestant seminaries, liberals think that the resurrection of Christ was only mental, in the minds of the Apostles, and not a resurrection of Christ’s material, physical body.

By listening to many hundreds of people from Baptist and new-evangelical backgrounds, we have sadly discovered that great numbers of them think the same way. Like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Herbert W. Armstrong, Bahai, and liberals, they also believe that Jesus Christ is only a spirit. They also believe that He did not rise physically from the dead and ascend into Heaven in a glorified, resurrected material body of flesh and bone. Sadly, that is the false view of Christ held by many spiritually darkened Protestants and Baptists today.

But it is not the belief of historic Christianity! And it is not the belief of our Baptist forefathers! That great Baptist author and preacher John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, said,

That very man, whom the Jews did crucify between two thieves, called Jesus Christ, did rise again. That very man, with that very body wherewith he was crucified upon the cross, did rise again out of the grave in which he was laid…Christ is raised again out of the grave, that very man, with that very body (John Bunyan, “Some Great Truths Opened,” The Works of John Bunyan, The Banner of Truth Trust, volume 2, pp. 156-157).

And that incomparable Baptist, C. H. Spurgeon, the “prince of preachers,” boldly said,

The soul of the Redeemer again took possession of the body, and it lived once more. There he was…as truly living as to all parts of him as he had ever been. He literally and truly, in a material body, came forth from the tomb to live among men…This is the historical fact which the apostles witnessed; this is the truth for which the [martyrs] bled and died. This is the doctrine which is the key-stone of the arch of Christianity…How can they hope for salvation of their souls if they do not believe that “the Lord is risen indeed”? (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1973 reprint, volume XXVIII, pp. 195-196).

And this is what Jesus Christ Himself said, after He rose from the dead. These are the words of Christ Himself, after His resurrection, after His body was raised from the grave. The risen Christ said,

“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” (Luke 24:39).

Therefore, I say to you this morning, with all boldness and in full confidence - the risen Christ is no spirit!

“For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” 
      (Luke 24:39).

I will make a few remarks on that glorious text.

I. First, Jesus proved to the Apostles that He was not a spirit.

Thomas was not with the other Disciples when they first saw the risen Christ. Thus, doubting Thomas said,

“Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

Eight days later Thomas was with the others, and Jesus came and stood before them. Then Jesus said to Thomas,

“Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27).

And Thomas said to Christ,

“My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

The Apostle John was also there with Thomas. John spoke of the risen Christ,

“Which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (I John 1:1).

And the Apostle Paul said,

“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4).

That is what the Apostles believed! They believed in the physical, bodily resurrection of Christ. And they believed it because Christ proved to them that He had been raised!

“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” (Luke 24:39).

II. Second, Jesus not only rose physically, but He also ascended
back to Heaven physically.

“What,” you say, “you mean to tell me that Christ went up to Heaven in a physical body?” Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. “But how could that happen?” you ask. I can do no better than give you Paul’s question to King Agrippa,

“Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8).

God raised the patriarch Enoch, and

“Enoch was translated that he should not see death” 
      (Hebrews 11:5).

The prophet Elijah, also, was taken up physically and bodily into Heaven.

“And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (II Kings 2:11).

And, at the end of this age, Christ will come in the air,

“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” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

“But,” someone says, “How can the physical bodies of Christians be taken up in the air?” The answer is,

“We shall all be changed” (I Corinthians 15:51).

Shall we be changed into spirits? No, a thousand times no!

“We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21).

The “raptured” bodies of true Christians will not be spirits, but will “be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).

Now, since God raised Enoch physically into Heaven, and since God raised Elijah physically into Heaven, and since God will rapture true Christians physically into Heaven,

“Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8).

And why should you doubt Jesus when He said,

“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” (Luke 24:39)?

After the risen flesh and bone Jesus said those words to the Disciples,

“It came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:51).

Jesus rose physically, and ascended back to Heaven physically, in His glorified, resurrected flesh and bone body.

Did you know that the Muslims believe that? They don’t know who Jesus is. They think He was only a prophet. They don’t know that He is the incarnate God. They don’t know that He is the Second Person of the Trinity. They don’t know that He died to pay for our sins. But they do know that He went up physically into Heaven! On this critical point, we must stand with the Muslims, and against the liberals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Armstrong, and Christian Science - and against you, if you do not believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God in a glorified, resurrected flesh and bone body. We must stand against these Western perversions of the Bible and stand with the Muslims on this point! Christ went up bodily into Heaven!

But poor Muslims do not know that the Saviour died on the Cross to pay the penalty for their sins. Poor Muslims do not know that Jesus is God the Son. Poor Muslims do not know that the Blood of Jesus can wash away their sins. How we pray that some of them will read this sermon in Arabic on our website, believe in Jesus, and be saved by Him!

Oh, sinner, whoever you are, if you thought Jesus was a spirit, I beg you to throw away that false idea and come to the real Jesus. Merely changing your doctrinal belief on this subject will not save you! Oh, no! You must be converted! You must come to the resurrected Lord, at the right hand of God in Heaven. Come to Him by faith and He will pardon your every sin and save your soul from the flames of Hell. I plead with you this morning to come by faith to

“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 24:36-43.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Christ Arose” (by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE RISEN CHRIST IS NO SPIRIT!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“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” (Luke 24:39).

I.   First, Jesus proved to the Apostles that He was not a spirit,
John 20:25, 27, 28; I John 1:1; Romans 1:3-4.

II.  Second, Jesus not only rose physically, but He also ascended
back to Heaven physically, Acts 26:8; Hebrews 11:5;
II Kings 2:11; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; I Corinthians 15:51;
Philippians 3:20-21; Luke 24:51; John 1:29.