How do we respond to the wars in Joshua and Judges?

Judges 1:2-3, “2 The Lord said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.” 3 Then Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I in turn will go with you into the territory allotted you.” So Simeon went with him.”

It is easy to read Judges and think to yourself, “How could the God of Scripture send in Israel to conquer a people?”  This part of Judges is hard because it isn’t like Israel is defending themselves from the Canaanites. The Lord is leading Israel to take this land and kill these people. That’s the 6th and 8th Commandment, “You shall not kill and you shall not steal.” What’s going on? Therefore, we need to remember a few things when we are studying Judges:

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Happy Easter

John 20:11, “11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb;” 

In the context of John 20 Jesus has been handed over to the authorities, put on a false trial, heard people cry out, “Crucify Him!, and then experienced the most painful death we can imagine, wrapped in linen, placed in a tomb, and this all takes place on a Friday.

In verse 11 it is Sunday morning, and Mary, a faithful friend of Jesus is showing up to the tomb where Jesus is buried, and she is weeping.

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What do we do with guilt and shame?

1 Corinthians 15:56, “56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;”

In verse 56 the Apostle Paul jam packs a lot of truth in a few little words.  Therefore, we are going to need to draw out some of the truths of these words.  Lets break them into two sections:  Sting of death is sin / Power of sin is the law.

First Section:  When the Apostle Paul writes, “the sting of death is sin” it means death isn’t really hurtful unless there is sin.  The God of Scripture isn’t concerned about death.  Jesus says to Lazarus, “Come out!” Jesus said to the little girl who was deceased, “Get up!”  Death in and of itself isn’t a big deal unless there is sin, therefore, the Apostle Paul writes, “The sting of death is sin.”

Second Section:  The problem isn’t death, but our sin, and the power of sin is the law, and I could lose you here, so stay with me, but the law isn’t just the Scriptures we hold in our hand.  The law is the Scriptures we hold in our hands, but also the law is made known in all of creation. Romans 1, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen.”

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What will our new bodies like in eternity?

1 Corinthians 15:42-44, “42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 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.”

In verses 42-44 the Apostle Paul draws out a contrast of what our future, glorified bodies will look like one day when Jesus returns.  But, first lets remember the big picture:  When you believe in Jesus you will be eternally with Jesus. At some point your life on earth will come to an end, and the moment that happens your soul is face to face with Jesus for eternity.

You’re not laying in the ground waiting for Jesus to return, you’re not playing thumb wars until Jesus returns, you’re not floating around watching the funeral until Jesus returns, or playing tricks on your siblings as a mischievous angel. You are with Jesus!

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Baptism for the Dead

1 Corinthians 15:29-30, “29 Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? 30 Why are we also in danger every hour?”

In verse 29 we see the Apostle Paul reference “baptism for the dead” and at first glance it could sound like the Apostle Paul is introducing something crazy.  But, it is important to remember the Apostle Paul is referencing a religious ceremony like “baptism for the dead” as an example to expose an inconsistency in the beliefs of the Corinthian church.

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Death Isn’t the End

1 Corinthians 15:23-24, “23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.”

In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul is speaking to the Corinthian church to remind them of the importance of our physical bodies and remembering what we do with our lives matter.

If you notice in verse 23 the Apostle Paul reminds us of the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus, and it is upon the return of Jesus the Apostle Paul writes, “Then comes the end.”

Which means when you are in Christ your physical body might be put in the ground, but death isn’t the end. When you are in Christ you might experience horrible loss, but that horrible loss isn’t the end.

When you are in Christ you might struggle and suffer the whole of your life, but struggling and suffering isn’t the end. One day Jesus is going to return. One day there will be a trumpet call of God, Jesus will return, and then comes the end.

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Our Physical Bodies Matter to God

1 Corinthians 15:12, “12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?”

1 Corinthians is written by the Apostle Paul and Paul’s life has been radically changed through faith in Jesus, and the resurrected Jesus has sent Paul from city to city proclaiming the name of Jesus around the world.

One of those cities is Corinth, and in verse 12 there are some men and women in the Corinthian Church who are saying, “There is no resurrection of the dead.”  Now, it is important to remember the people in the Corinthian church believe Jesus resurrected from the dead, but the people in the Corinthian Church are not sure if there is a future resurrection of the dead for those who are followers of Jesus.

This can be confusing, but the common belief in the Corinthian culture was the physical was inferior to the spiritual, therefore, the physical body didn’t really hold any lasting value in the Corinthian culture.  The Greeks influenced the Corinthian culture to place more emphasis on the spiritual, or philosophical being of a person, and less emphasis on the physical being of a person, so that the Corinthian church had little value for the physical body.

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