Tag Archives: Resurrection

Everything’s Looking Up, Part 1

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8 (KJV)

I have now added the Book of Acts to my list of favorite Bible books.  Why?  Because it bears witness to the fact of what can happen when ordinary people (and the Church) cooperate with supernatural power (the Holy Spirit).  And what is the result?  Extraordinary ministry!  I’m sure the Disciples felt that things were “looking up” since once again Jesus was present with them. But they had much to learn from Jesus before He ascended to heaven.

It had been forty days since Resurrection Sunday and Jesus wasted no time in completing His earthly ministry. After His ascension, Jesus would give His commandments to His “sent ones”, the newly commissioned apostles through the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:2). Knowing His departure was rapidly approaching, Jesus directed His energies to two activities: presenting evidence of His resurrection and teaching concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

How did Jesus prove His resurrection? Not only by the witness of others (1 Cor. 15:4-7) but Jesus Himself would offer “infallible proofs.”  Perhaps He showed unbelievers His nail scarred hands and His pierced side. For those who challenged the stories of His resurrection, Jesus might have walked through closed doors as He did Easter afternoon with his disciples (John 20:19) or suddenly joined scoffers at their evening meal and ate in their presence to prove He was no ghost or apparition (Luke 24:41-43).

What did Jesus teach His disciples concerning the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God was the future Millennial Kingdom—the thousand year bodily reign of Jesus upon the earth (Rev.20:1-6).  Jesus had spoken to the disciples before about an earthly, literal kingdom (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:28-30).  Through the Millennial Kingdom “God would burst into human history in a spectacular way to establish His rule on earth.” [1]   Perhaps He reminded the disciples of the faithfulness of God in His promise to establish the throne of David’s kingdom forever (2 Sam. 7:13; Jer. 33:17-21).

“Knowledge of God’s faithfulness and eternal promises would far outweigh any deterrent the Disciples might face in the future.”

Jesus left his disciples two instructions.  First they were to wait for the “Promise of the Father”, the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4).  Jesus also waited for the Holy Spirit before beginning His ministry (Matt. 3:16).  The new apostles would need the Spirit’s power to accomplish their work.   Second, they were commanded to be witnesses of Jesus “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  The spreading of the Gospel would require the disciples to move from the familiar to the unknown, expanding their territory and their audience.  However, if they followed Jesus’ instruction and the Holy Spirit, the result would be “extraordinary ministry.”

In this time and place, there is both the need and the possibility to create extraordinary ministry.  Jesus has given us the commission to go and to make disciples, to teach and to witness, just as He did (Matt. 28:19-20). We need not wait for the Holy Spirit.  He is living within every believer and is ready to empower us to complete the work that Jesus began.

Jesus has provided us witnesses and infallible proofs within the Gospel narratives and the Bible in general.  We have the guarantee of eternal promises that begin now and extend into eternity (2 Pet. 1:2-4).    It’s time to move out of our comfort zones and embrace the work that Jesus has gifted us to do.  Let us live each day with intentionality creating extraordinary ministry.  Are you ready?

SELAH:  Re-read today text from Acts and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what work God has gifted you to do that will witness to His power and glory.

Need some additional encouragement before moving forward?

Read:  “Fret Not

The Reality of the Resurrection

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Corinthians 15:19 (NKJ)

 Christ has risen! (Matt. 28:6)  What now?  The Disciples and the New Testament Church would now face persecution and even death for their belief in Jesus Christ.  If they were to continue the work that Jesus began, they would now need to demonstrate the reality of the resurrection.

The Apostle Paul knew the importance of the resurrection and passionately defended its reality.  He shared the magnitude of the resurrection with the church at Corinth by highlighting the risk that would occur if they did not accept it as “fact” and demonstrate its impact in their lives (1 Corinthians 15).   This danger still exists for believers in the 21st century.  In verse 14 Paul begins to expound the casualty to Christianity if “Christ is not raised.”

First and foremost, our faith is in vain (v.14).  Imagine awakening to the news that Christ’s resurrection did not occur?  How would your belief system be affected?  In what or who would you place your hope and trust?  Second, if Christ is not raised, we as believers have falsely represented God (v.15).  Jesus’ resurrection is the cornerstone of God’s plan of eternal salvation for man (Hebrew 5:9).  Only God could supernaturally raise Christ from the dead (Acts 2:24; Ep. 1:20). To deny the resurrection would also be denying the power of God.  Third and most disturbing, Paul concludes if Christ is not raised, we are “still in our sins” AND our family and friends who have died “have perished” (v. 17).  It was for sin that Jesus was manifested (1 John 3:5) and through His resurrection that the power of death was destroyed (Heb. 2:14).

“The resurrection of Jesus showed that Christ’s oblation as the sacrificial lamb was accepted by God, which is the basis for the giving of the Spirit to believers and the forgiveness of sins.” [1]

Finally, our text for today (v. 19) sums up the dilemma that Christians and the world in general would face if there were no resurrection:  “If we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world” (NLT). If this life is the total sum of our existence, then Christ would have died in vain and our future prospects would be consigned to the dust from which we were created.  Continuity of our existence would be halted with our last breathe.

I question whether we, as believers, fully understand the implications of Christ’s resurrection in the 21st century.  Year after year we proclaim, “Christ is risen!” on Easter Sunday often relegating it to a “social phenomenon” that occurred thousands of years ago.  Yes, we’re willing to accept Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and the gift of His Holy Spirit, but at the end of the day, what changes have we implemented in our lives to reflect the “supernatural manifestation” that took place on Resurrection Sunday?  The reality of Jesus’ resurrection should make a difference in how we live!  Are we living our life as Christ had hoped when He sacrificed His life for ours?  Are we doing “greater works” than Christ did, as He stated in John 14:12?  Are we living each day joyfully expecting His return? (2 Pet. 3:11-12)  NOW is the right time to rededicate our life to Christ and boldly demonstrate the reality of His resurrection.  Let our hallelujah ring out to witness that Christ is raised!

SELAH:  Imagine living today without the expectation of a future resurrection.  Journal the emotions you feel as you consider this ending for your life then praise God for the reality of Jesus’ resurrection.    

[1]  Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Living in the Power of the Resurrection

“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,

we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Romans 6:5 (NKJ)

 

Good Friday is a few days away.  Christ died for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6).  Resurrection Sunday is on the horizon.  Christ is risen! (Matt. 28:6)  And now, as a result of these two events, how are we to live?  I’m sure Christ’s disciples had the same question upon hearing of our Lord’s resurrection.  They received the resurrection proclamation from the women who visited the empty tomb early Easter morning (Matt. 28).  They had personally seen the glorified Christ “behind shut doors” (John 20:19-30).  Even after all this, the disciples did not fully understand the implications of the resurrection and how it would change their lives forever.  They lived through the suffering of the Cross.  They would now need to learn how to live in the power of the resurrection.

In the final days of His earthly life, Jesus hinted about this resurrection power.  He assured His disciples, “he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do” (John 14:12).

The Apostle Paul knew how to live in the power of the resurrection.  He wanted to not only “share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings” but also, to know Him and the power of His resurrection (Phil. 3:10).  Paul prayed that the church at Ephesus would understand “the power God that worked in Christ when He raised Him (Jesus) from the dead” (Eph. 1:19, 20).  The early New Testament church gained its potency and power through accessing that same resurrection power through the anointing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

How do twenty-first century believers live in the power of the resurrection?

Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.  We now are able to walk in victory.  Sin no longer has power over us (Romans 6).  Satan is crushed and we are free (Col. 2:15).  Though he would have us believe we are still lost, we have become new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).  Though our memories and the world would tempt us on every side, we are able to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).  Though we may sometimes “stumble and fall”, we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39).  We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, our Guarantee, until we arrive in heaven (Eph. 1:13, 14).

Also read:  Our Resurrection Witness

We have received the resurrection proclamation.  Christ has personally come to dwell within our hearts.  We are witnesses to His existence.  After the resurrection, the disciples went back to their daily routines.  Peter even invited his cohorts to “go fishing” while they awaited their new orders from our Lord.  While we celebrate the resurrection of Christ once a year at Easter, we much daily tap into this power from on high.  Don’t go back to “business as usual”.  Tap into the resurrection power of God and finish the good work God has begun in you (Phil. 1:6).

Selah:  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any area of your life (relationships, attitudes, behaviors) where you need to access the power of the resurrection.  Then ask Him to help you develop next steps on what to do.

Are you willing to launch out?  Check out the link for more info!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPgfZbUxYFk&index=1&list=PLXZmuJ5W5m4HAmeSH2k6zZiuJvxJZXxLq