Jim Ratcliffe - Theodore Convention - Thursday Morning, June 31, 1999

I first came to Theodore Convention 65 years ago. At that convention, I gave my testimony with fear and trembling. Today, I stand before this microphone with fear and trembling. It is difficult to find what to say — difficult to ensure that the message is from God.

Resurrection and the resurrection story is the main purpose of our gathering. There is something for us to do — prepare for
the resurrection. If anyone could prove to me that there is no resurrection — then I am finished! I would have wasted my life. If I thought there was no resurrection I would leave this work. I would collect my Old Age Security. At my age, I would have a sizeable payment. I would be able to rent a nice apartment, buy a comfortable reclining rocking chair. I could lean back and relax — take life easy! Who knows, I might even find someone who would agree to share my life.

1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection chapter. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again according to the scriptures. There were 500 eyewitnesses to the resurrection.

Verse 19 reads, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Without the resurrection, all the suffering of workers would be in vain. Paul knew suffering — 5 times he suffered 39 stripes.

But, “Christ is risen” — He is the first fruits from the dead.

Verse 35, “But some men will say, how are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come!"

How? Through the qu
ickening of the dying seed — a new life! What body? Death and the grave are like a garden. The hoe is digging a grave. The seed is put in the dark cold ground — there is no life without death of the seed. Jesus was the first One up. Raised in a spiritual body! Just as He gave the fish a body to live in the sea, we will be happy with the new body He provides for us. The caterpillar will one day fly! This is not rubbish! Verse 43, “It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory.” Many a beautiful butterfly was once an ugly old caterpillar. We have nothing to be proud about today.

The last part of verse 43, “…it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.” The mighty Redwood tree—over 300 feet tall—comes from a seed the size of a grain of rice.

1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” If we are fruitful and abide now, we shall be like Him.

Verses 55-56, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?” The sin of life is the sting of death. We have no more fear of death if our sins have been taken care of.

Verse 58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” Pleasures for evermore in the Lord.

[The 2nd from last message we heard from Jim.]