Episode 58

February 20, 2024


Resurrection Hope with Evan Welcher

Hosted by

Erik Rasmussen
Resurrection Hope with Evan Welcher
The Concerning Him Podcast
Resurrection Hope with Evan Welcher

Feb 20 2024 | 00:29:06


Show Notes

When Christians go through pain and suffering, what hope can they find? Evan Welcher joins the podcast to discuss the Christian's resurrection hope and how our hope is rooted in the Gospel.

Listen to podcasts, browse hundreds of sermons, or read articles: https://concerninghim.com/
Follow our IG: https://www.instagram.com/emmausbibleco/
Follow on X: https://twitter.com/EmmausBibleCo
Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmmausBibleCollege
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@EmmausBibleCollege
Subscribe on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5Lp7tUBLvrgmmZZs5iU8x0
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-concerning-him-podcast/id1586210036
Emmaus Bible College: https://www.emmaus.edu/
Support Emmaus: https://www.emmaus.edu/partner

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Life is hard. Everyone struggles with pain and suffering. So many people today deal with anxiety and depression. All of us at some point in our lives will lose a loved one to death because of sin. Pain, suffering and death have come into the world, and we won't escape them in this lifetime. But is there hope? I'm Eric Rasmussen, and this is the concerning him podcast. And today we have on Evan Welcher, an Emmaus alumni, to talk to us about our future resurrection hope. As Christians, Evan has a wonderful story. He's dealt with sickness and death in ways that most of us haven't, and through it all, he's come away with a passion about the Christian's future resurrection hope. I hope you really enjoy the interview. If you listen to us on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, I'd love it if you gave us a rating or review. And if you watch these videos on YouTube, it'd be great. If you'd like the video or subscribe to our channel, I'd really appreciate it. Remember, the concerning hymn podcast is brought to you by Emmaus Bible College. Here at Emmaus, it's our goal in all that we do to impact the world for Christ, whether it's in the classroom teaching Bible and theology, or it's preparing young men and women for future professional careers, or it's through ministries like concerning him. For more information about Emmaus, please visit emmaus.edu. If you'd like to listen to more podcast episodes like this one, read biblically centered articles, or listen to trustworthy biblical sermons, please visit concerninghim.com. [00:01:44] Speaker B: Happy to be here. [00:01:46] Speaker A: I'm excited to have you on. You are an Emmaus alum, correct? [00:01:50] Speaker B: Yes, sir. [00:01:51] Speaker A: What years were you at Emmaus? [00:01:53] Speaker B: From one to five. [00:01:56] Speaker A: Okay. 2001, 2005. Well, that goes into, I mean, where we want to just get started like we do with most guests the first time they're on would just to be here to hear some of your story. How has the Lord worked in your life to kind of bring you to where you are today? And I'll let you kind of choose how much detail you want to go into with that. [00:02:15] Speaker B: Oh, happy to. So I was not raised in the church, and as a nerdy intellectual kid who loved reading, I quickly became quite devoted to atheism. And I was the kid who was wearing black every day and just know a loner. And I really thought, like a lot of modern people do now, that the Church of Jesus Christ was ruining the world and that the gospel of Christ was intolerant and that christians were just ruining everything. And that was my. Was I had made my mind up to not follow Jesus, if you will. And in high school, one of my friends converted, and they invited me to this Methodist church, which had this really evangelistic, bible based youth group. And I heard the gospel, I think, for the first time. I had read about it and rejected it, but I'd never really had it proclaimed and preached, and I believed the Lord worked a wonder in my heart and changed my mind about him. And as the saying goes, I was zealous, like a convert. I couldn't imagine. I was probably almost 17 years old. I couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life doing anything else other than telling people about Christ. And so a group from Emmaus was doing a youth group, and I was raised in Waterloo, Iowa, so about hour and a half from Dubuque, and these were the most godly people I'd ever seen. They loved the. So Emmaus was pretty much the only bible college that I knew about being a new convert, and that's where I went. And I'm happy the Lord led me there, because I learned not only about the Bible, but I made lifelong friendships. I'm still best friends with my roommate from Smith hall. We were the founding fathers of Smith hall. We were the first year that they had us in there, so we definitely saw the damage we did to the facility. [00:04:33] Speaker A: Would that have been like 2002, 2003, something like that? [00:04:36] Speaker B: 2001. [00:04:37] Speaker A: Oh, your freshman year was the first year of smith. Wow. [00:04:41] Speaker B: Yes. And also just 911 happened freshman year. What a world changing thing to witness and to be saturated in the word of God while all those tumultuous events were happening. [00:04:58] Speaker A: Wow. And then what happened after Mace, what's life been like? You graduated, you said 2004, is that correct? [00:05:05] Speaker B: 2005, 2005. [00:05:07] Speaker A: So about 20 years, a little less than 20 years ago. What has the previous 20 years been like for you? [00:05:13] Speaker B: It's been a gift from God, a long road of suffering, but opportunity to serve him and to walk with Jesus. I ended up in Glenwood, Iowa, for a long time, pastoring a little church there. Probably 14 years I was there, and last couple of years I've been in Vermilion, South Dakota, at a little Baptist church in a college town. [00:05:42] Speaker A: How'd you find your way into full time ministry then out of Emmaus? [00:05:47] Speaker B: I always wanted to know. I thought, jesus needs to be proclaimed, and I want to tell people about, you know, I don't know that that's necessarily what you have to do if you want to tell people about Jesus. You can find avenues to do that in whatever line of work the Lord leads you into. But like I say, I converted at 17, and to me it seemed like you got to be a preacher. So that's the road I went down. [00:06:16] Speaker A: Wonderful. Well, today we want to talk about resurrection hope or the Christian's resurrection hope. I was talking to JJ Rowley, one of our faculty here. I should call him Dr. Routley, who told me just recently, he said, this would have been the day that I emailed you. He said, man, you really got to get Evan on the podcast and talk about the Christian's future resurrection hope and why this is so important and why it's important to him and why this should be important to all of christians and what is it? So I'm really excited because I think this is an important topic that's probably not talked about enough in the church. Would you agree with that? [00:06:55] Speaker B: I agree, and it's OD because death and resurrection are what the church is supposed to be preparing us for. And I think our american sensibilities have gotten to us a bit. We like to be positive and not think about death, but the message of resurrection is that sin and death do not win, and that Jesus is victorious over sin and rebellion and the curse of death. So we ought to be talking about it all the time. But people find that to be morbid. [00:07:29] Speaker A: So you just went into a bit of an explanation there. Would you want to dive in further? Like, what is the christian resurrection's hope? If we're talking about that general concept, what are we talking about for people who maybe don't? [00:07:42] Speaker B: So I think a lot of times when people trust in Christ for salvation, they put their faith in Jesus. They're thinking, know, when they die, they're going to go to heaven. And it's this place of clouds and angels and in the intermediate state that may well be to some extent. But what the Bible talks about most is being resurrected from the grave. And so this body that you may not like very much, you're stuck with for eternity, but God's going to fix it, which is the older you get, the more important that is. That's a beautiful hope because things start breaking down and you get diseases and sicknesses and it's like it ain't working like it used to. I don't want to be stuck in this body. I'd rather be a disembodied soul. But what the Bible talks about is that this body will be resurrected from the grave, out of the hole they throw. You know, Al Moller always says that when you die they're going to throw you in the ground and go back to the church and eat potato salad. And that's the destiny for everybody, no matter who you are. That's the reality. But in Christ, he's going to lift that body up out of the grave and make it a body like his. And so we know that Jesus went through the most horrific of deaths, and three days later he walks out of the grave with a resurrected body. Glorified body, we call it, and it works. There's no more pain. Revelation says that when you get there, he's going to wipe away all the tears from your face and all things will be set right. And we often talk about the problem of pain. C. S. Lewis wrote about that. And this is a massive issue in the Christian's life, is what do we do with the notion that to be saved means that Jesus is with you, that you have a king, that God is on your side, that nothing can separate you from the love of God. And yet life hurts so bad. It hurts so bad. Suffering is something that drives people away from Jesus, because many people have just ingrained into themselves the false gospel, the prosperity gospel, that you give your life to Christ and everything's going to be hunky dory. But the reality of what the Bible talks about is that all these saints suffered immensely and they died in hope, waiting for a better country, a new Jerusalem, a place of peace. And that's all tied up with death and resurrection. [00:10:33] Speaker A: Talk a little bit about that word, about the word hope that's kind of related to all of know, and this is not necessarily groundbreaking for most christians know, the way we use hope, whoever you hope that would win the super bowl type of thing? The way we use hope and the way the Bible uses hope are very different. But how is that understanding of hope and assure hope kind of so important to the resurrection? And then I want to get to in a bit how this changes right now and how we live and how we think and how we operate. But talk about the word hope for a minute. [00:11:11] Speaker B: The hope in the scriptures that we always talk about is the blessed hope, the idea that Jesus is not going to abandon us, that he's going to return. And part of that is being resurrected from death. And so the hope that we have is that God has never forgotten his people. And all through the Old Testament, to the New Testament, to church history, we see that God has never forgotten his people. That to be a Christian means that God has you on his mind, and that gives us hope. That no matter how bad it gets. Resurrection is coming. The Lord is returning. He will never abandon us, and he knows exactly where all his children are buried. And in a lonely, isolated world, where when we talk to people of all ages in America, what they're struggling with is isolation, not having friends. People joke that Jesus greatest miracle is living in his 30s with twelve close friends, or eleven close friends, I should say. And that's the truth, though we feel forgotten. And the hope we have in Christ is he won't forget us. Even when you're on your deathbed and you're at the end of any earthly strength or ability or capability that you thought you had and the writings on the wall, and you're toast, the Lord is with you, and he's going to raise you from death. And that means everything you look at. One corinthians 1558 says, therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. And that's at the end of all of his doctrine of theology about being resurrected and how the perishable must put on the imperishable and all those beautiful verses. It culminates in being steadfast for the believer in the here now being immovable, abounding in the work of the Lord. In other words, not giving up on the mission that God has made you for, because, you know, he has the end of the story all wrapped up. [00:13:33] Speaker A: So I'm thinking you've got young teenage atheistic Evan, and then great youth group, and the Lord saves you, and then you come to Emmaus and now to where you are now, kind of tracking throughout all of that. How did this resurrection hope, how has it become so important to you? Kind of. Why is this such a big deal for you specifically? [00:14:03] Speaker B: It's become important to me through suffering and grief and dealing with death. And so I graduated. I was 22 years old in 2005, and that spring, my mom got cancer, and she died quickly that summer right after Emmaus, and she was only 43 years old. Now I'm 41. That's coming up soon. That's young. That's crazy. I don't feel like I've barely lived at all. But she did believe in Jesus, and that brought home to me how important resurrection is, that God is going to keep these promises and defeat death, because people get wishy washy when they speak about death liberating you and death as a friend and all this kind of stuff, and you go through all the stages of grief, and you have to accept the death of your loved. And we get what they're saying, but death is an know. The scriptures speak very boldly about that, that one of the things Jesus was incarnated and died upon the cross and was raised from the dead was to defeat death. And I think older christians understand that because they've lost a lot of friends. And even churches back in the day always had a graveyard attached to it. And so you would literally go to meeting and walk through a graveyard, and you'd be reminded viscerally that all these graves would be emptied by the power of Jesus. And so my mom died young, when I was young and first getting into ministry, and I ended up at a church with a lot of senior saints. And it was this kind of church that was 150 years old. We merged of another church next door to us that was also 150 years old. And what that meant was there's all these sort of legacy members who maybe you've never seen them on a Sunday morning, but when someone died, they would come to us. And I ended up doing over 100 funerals. [00:16:17] Speaker A: Wow. [00:16:18] Speaker B: Just funeral after funeral after funeral, and hospital visit after hospital visit. Everyone's church might look different, but my ministry was very much dealing with the decline of the body, physical suffering and death. What kind of hope are we going to give people? And so if your church isn't talking about resurrection, you can talk about how God is with us in the here and now, which is true, and how God might improve your circumstances here and now. But you're all going to die. And before you die, it's most likely that you're going to spend time in the hospital, which is a bleak, sad place, full of fluorescent lights and bad artwork on the wall. And you're just in bed wondering, what's his life for? And the answer for the Christian is that, well, all over the scripture, it says that God never wastes your suffering, that he's making something glorious out of your suffering, which will culminate in a complete healing through resurrection. Not only that, but I was pastoring this church, and I got married when I was 28 to a girl I met at Emmaus. She was only there for one year, Danielle Olsen. And two years into our marriage, cancer struck again. And she was this vibrant woman who was on fire for the Lord. She knew the word of God. She was a teacher. She'd been a missionary in South Sudan. From the human perspective, she had so much more to give. It was a tragedy. And she got lymphoma and leukemia. And like we always say, for good reason. Oftentimes the treatment is worse than the cancer. And so, as her husband, I loved her. I waited for. And what we thought would be a typical marriage with having kids and serving the Lord ended up being me, taking care of her and watching someone suffer well, in the name of Jesus, because she never cursed God and she never questioned God. And she actually pointed everyone to Jesus, which is often what happens when you're suffering is that maybe people should be comforting you, but instead they're having a hard time witnessing you suffer. And so she used her suffering to point people back to the gospel. And it was an amazing thing to see from my part. But she did die two years after, at the age of 30. So once again, very young Paul says that if we don't have this hope of resurrection, we're of all men to be most pitied. Life, as the princess bride says, life is pain. And anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something. And so we as christians, ought to be wise to that. We do not study the Bible in vain. We study it because we are mining hope out of this book. And there's so much hope in this book, that disease does not win, that death does not win, that suffering is not empty. And not only do we get to be with God and see Jesus, but we get to see all the people we've lost over the years. And when you've lost quite a few people, it's like a piece of your heart is now residing in heaven and waiting to see those people once again, which I don't think is unspiritual. To want to see people who you've lost, it's incredible. [00:20:14] Speaker A: What's incredible to me to sit here and have a conversation with you is to see somebody who has been through these different hardships with your mother, with your first wife, just to be experiencing death, pastoring this church, and yet to come out of it with the perspective that you have is impressive to me, because I think a lot of people would say, a lot of worldly people would say, evan, give up. Obviously, all of the good things in life, quote unquote, are leaving you. If God is good, right, then these things wouldn't be happening to you. Abandon that. Abandon the Lord, abandon your faith, and just hold on to whatever you have left. Because obviously your good God isn't doing anything good for you. How would you respond to that type of thought? Because obviously, that has not been your response. [00:21:13] Speaker B: Yeah, it's all the work of the Lord. I don't give credit to myself because it is very tempting. When you suffer to question. I think the enemy is a roaring lion, and he wants to consume you, and he's crouching at your door, and sin wants to rule over you, and you have to rule over it. And Cain didn't get the message. So when you do suffer, it either is going to destroy you and make you weak or make you stronger in Jesus. And I think the door to be strong in the Lord is always open to people of faith. But we recognize, I think, in 2024, how pernicious deconstruction is and deconversion and apostasy, just how that's happening everywhere. And you better walk through the dark forest of suffering before you actually have to like purpose in your heart that I'm not going to abandon the Lord, come what may, that I believe what's in this book. And romans six three says that your baptism is attached to being buried in Christ and to being raised of Christ. And I think you need to internalize that big time. Romans six three says, or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized in Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death, and therefore we've been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead, let's see here. I lost my place. As Christ was raised in the dead through the glory of the father, so we, too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his. So, you know, our lutheran friends always say, remember your baptism, which means that when you sin, that you are washed in the gospel promises. And that's true with suffering, too, that the enemy of your soul would like nothing better than to have a deal like he had of job and to make you suffer and have you walk away. And I think oftentimes our suffering is a test. We don't like to think that way. But it is a test to see who your first love is. And are you going to cling to the cross of Christ over and above all things? Job's wife said, curse God and die. And that's not the good news of the gospel. The good news of the gospel is we never curse God, we never deny him, and we're never going to stay dead because we'll be resurrected. [00:24:08] Speaker A: You're talking about a lot of this already. But specifically, I'm thinking people that might be listening to this who are suffering, but maybe it's not the death of a loved one. Maybe it's other suffering. And I think about. There's all sorts of you talked about already, just loneliness and depression and anxiety and all of these things that definitely feel like the result of sin, obviously, but feel like are plaguing our world, or at least our nation at the moment. And it's all around us. I mean, everybody we know, everybody knows people that are suffering through these types of things. And specifically, how does a resurrection hope, a hope of bodily resurrection, how does that change our mindset and our attitude? How does that affect other suffering, other than the loss of a loved one? [00:25:06] Speaker B: Yeah, the resurrection is paramount to all of that because so much anxiety and depression is because our minds just don't work the way they ought to. There's chemical imbalances, and it's a result of the fall. We live in a fallen world, and so our bodies are not working the way they ought to be working. And the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that if you are struggling with depression and anxiety and any number of other things in Christ, your body will be healed and your mind will be healed. And these things which are supposed to be blessings to you, which seem to be waging war upon your very life, will be put right in Jesus. And so we, as the church, want to be compassionate and help people get the help that they need, encourage them in that direction. But the only one who's going to set everything right is Jesus, and that's why we worship him every day of the week and on Sunday as well. He's the lord of lords and the king of kings, and he cares about his sheep. [00:26:15] Speaker A: One thing I appreciate with how you're framing all of this and shows in some ways you're a good theologian, is that you really are centering it on. We're talking about future resurrection, hope for the Christian, but you're centering it on the gospel and the gospel message. And these two things aren't separated in your mind. These two things are very intricately linked. Would you want to just explain that a little bit? [00:26:42] Speaker B: Jesus died to destroy the works of the devil and to atone for my. And to be set free from sin means to have life, to have life in Christ. And so the message that Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead is so much more integral than just if you become a Christian, you get to go to heaven or get a new body. Like, even if it is a resurrection focus, it's still, the gospel is so much better and deeper than stuff I get, because the reason you get to be resurrected from the dead is because Jesus has redeemed your soul from the pit. New life is deeper and bigger than just this body being fixed or going to heaven or seeing the kingdom of heaven on earth. All these things for which we fervently pray. I get to be right with God, the one who made me, and peace with the father through the work of the Son is life. And that's what Christianity is about. That's what the Bible tells us about is how to be fully alive. That's good news. [00:28:07] Speaker A: Amen. Well, I appreciate that, Evan. I appreciate your time today. Is there anything else that we didn't hit on that you're like, Eric, hold up. Before we finish, we need to really hit on this. [00:28:18] Speaker B: You did such a good job. It's complete perfect. [00:28:23] Speaker A: Thank you. I appreciate your time and I appreciate your love for the Lord and the ministry that you're doing. We love to see Emmaus alum out there serving the Lord, dedicated to him and doing so with joy and appreciate that a lot. Evan. [00:28:39] Speaker B: Yep, go eagles. [00:28:43] Speaker A: Thank you for listening to concerning him on Emmaus podcast. Ministries like concerning him are possible because of the generous contributions from our partners around the world. For more information about partnering with us, please visit emeas.edu slash partner.

Other Episodes