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The Power of His Resurrection

Philippians 3:7-11(NKJV) - But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

As I prepare to preach this Resurrection Sunday at The Body Church, I've been mulling the significance of this scripture. In our current sermon series, Vision 2018, we've come to the part where we're dealing with "The Power of God" and the role it plays in our personal and corporate church growth. I don't consider it a coincidence that what God wants to say to us this Easter Sunday is directly in line with what He's already saying to us in this sermon series. So today, I'll introduce Sunday's message in this blog.

Apostle Paul's primary desire was to know Jesus Christ. He put that desire above everything else in his life including his personal accomplishments and self-generated righteousness. He then elaborated on the specific aspects of Christ that interested him the most. He wanted to know Christ in two main ways; the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. Why? So that the same victory Jesus Christ attained over death would also be his portion. In other words, through Christ's resurrection, he would receive his own resurrection.

At first glance, it seems quite simple. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, so that those of us who were once dead because of sin, can receive life through Him. That life manifests itself through instant spiritual renewal at the point of salvation. It is then followed up by physical resurrection on The Last Day (not before) when Jesus returns to earth. For those who die before that day, the resurrection is literal. Yet, for those who are still alive, their natural bodies which are subject to death and are already in the process of dying will be changed to immortal, glorified bodies similar to the one Jesus received. It also means that those who are in Christ will not experience eternal death which is separation from God. Yet, there's more.

John 11:1-7, 11-15, 20-27(NKJV) - Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, “He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” ... These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house... Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

After Lazarus died, Mary and Martha were distraught. First, they were devastated by the loss of their beloved brother. However, what made it worse was that Jesus knew Lazarus was sick, had the power to do something about it and never showed up until after Lazarus was dead. Interestingly enough, Jesus revealed to His disciples that He did that on purpose. It was actually Jesus' intention to let Lazarus die first so that He could raise Lazarus from death (sleep) and glorify God through it. As demonstrated in their conversation, Martha exposed the outer limits of her faith in the power of Jesus. First, she believed that Jesus had the power to heal so if Jesus had arrived on time Lazarus would have been saved. Then, she believed in The Resurrection at The Last Day. At that point, all believers would rise again so even though Lazarus was dead He would live again eventually.

The only thing she didn't believe was God's power to do anything for someone after physical death and before The Resurrection. In other words, she didn't fully understand The Power of His Resurrection. So, to teach her and the rest of us a valuable lesson about His true power, Jesus orchestrated the perfect demonstration. His main goal was to redefine The Resurrection as a person (Himself) and not an event that takes place on The Last Day alone. Hence, wherever He was present, so was His supreme power over death. He also used the opportunity to explain that belief alone gives anyone access to His power. Those who believe in Him as The Resurrection and die before The Resurrection will live again and those who believe and are alive will not die.

Obviously, we can apply His statement to The Last Day when we are assured that The Resurrection of all believers will take place. Yet, Jesus was clear that He was not just talking about The Last Day but He was talking about any time before then. He then proved it by raising Lazarus from the dead after three days and subsequently raising Himself (Jesus is God) from the dead after three days. Let me reiterate something you may have missed. Those who believe in Him as The Resurrection are able to tap into the Power of His Resurrection. Why do I say that? Whether we know it or not, belief in The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is crucial to our salvation. It's even included in the main scripture we quote for salvation.

Romans 10:9-10(NKJV) - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and “believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

To become a Christian you don't just believe in Jesus as a prophet, a Rabbi, a miracle worker, teacher or an overall good guy. You can't even simply believe that Jesus was born and died for your sins. You have to believe in His Resurrection. In other words, you have to believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead to be saved. No Resurrection, no salvation! It's that simple. Essentially, The Power of His Resurrection is the power that gives us salvation. Since Jesus is The Resurrection, when you believe in Jesus you believe in His Resurrection from death on the cross and also your Resurrection from death on The Last Day. What you should also believe is that His Resurrection has the power to affect your life between those two events. In fact, because you believe in Jesus Christ, The Power of His Resurrection is active and alive in you now the same way it was available for Lazarus to defeat death before Jesus even died on The Cross!

1 Corinthians 15:12-19(NKJV) - 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? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Our salvation is all about The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's because He lives, that we can live again. It's because He lives that we can face death with hope of life everlasting. It's because He lives that sin has been defeated forever. So, as we commemorate the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend, let us remember how important this is to our existence as Christians. The good news of the gospel does not end with Jesus dying for our sins but continues with Him rising from the dead to totally defeat it. Not only did He pay the price for our sins but by rising from the dead He defeated the power of sin. He had His cake and ate it too. He paid for sin with His death, then rose from the dead and took His life back once the debt was paid. We should be clear about what that means for us on The Last Day. Now let's talk about what that means for us right now.

Romans 8:9-11(NKJV) - But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

The Spirit of Christ lives in us which means The Resurrection lives in us. Yes, our physical bodies are subject to death but the life-giving power of His Spirit lives in our physical bodies right now. Hence, all of the power we need to rise from the dead on The Last Day is already inside of us. It's the same power which raised Christ from the dead. It's also the same power which raised Lazarus from the dead. It's the power of The Holy Ghost and The Power of His Resurrection. What can we do with this power? Possibly, anything. We just have to believe. And what do we have to believe? Whatever we see in His Word that applies to us.

Mark 9:23(NKJV) - Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Mark 16:15-18(NKJV) - And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Luke 10:18-20(NKJV) - And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Like Martha said to Jesus in John 11, every Christian believes that we will defeat death on The Last Day and rise again in The Resurrection. However, what do you believe God can do for you today? What are the outer limits of possibility in your life? If you can believe, all things are possible for you. You can defeat demons, serpents, poison, sickness, criminals, accidents, disasters or any other agent of death on earth today. You just need to have the faith! How does faith come? By hearing and hearing by The Word of God. Saturate your mind and heart with God's Word until you believe what's written in it. Then everything you believe will become possible in your life.

What's the extent of The Power of His Resurrection in your life? Whatever you believe in His Word!