It’s Sunday. Here’s a talk I gave a few years ago.
The power of the Resurrection–Did you ever stop to think about how much power it took to raise Jesus from the dead after three days? Consider that all the powers of darkness were working against Jesus. Of course that was no match for God’s power, but imagine how much power it took to counter the devil, death, and sin to raise Jesus.
Now understand that this exceeding great power is available to us who believe on Jesus!
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
Ephesians 1:15-23 NKJV
The believer’s battles against darkness are backed with tremendous resources. Those who have the power of the Resurrection within them have access to a limitless power, which we already have proof is capable of defeating sin and death.
So, fellow believer, does you life show evidences of the power of the Resurrection? How could I know by examining your life whether or not you’re tapping into that power? Is your self dead? Are you living above sin? Are you bearing a life of good works?
Perhaps that makes you uncomfortable enough to say, “But I’m only human!” You’d better not be “only human” because “only humans” do not enter the kingdom of God. Jesus plainly told Nicodemus in John 3 that only the born-again man can enter God’s kingdom because flesh–that’s the carnal, “only human” man–cannot inherit the kingdom. The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom; thus, only spiritual beings can enter. And the only way to be spiritual is to be born again of the Spirit.
The spiritual man, the one who is born again of the Holy Spirit, will have the fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5. When you study the fruit of the Spirit, notice that it is singular, one fruit described by various attributes, just as one might describe an apple as red, firm, sweet, etc. The spiritual man has the whole fruit, all the characteristics, not just pieces of it.
The one who is born of the Spirit becomes a new creature: Old things are passed away, and all things become new. Are all things new in your life? Or are you still showing that you have a bad temper? Or that you still gossip? Or that you can’t forgive others, but harbor bitterness?
Are all things new, or is your mind still hankering after immoral lusts? Are your desires aligned with God’s values or following the world’s? Are you in love with making money and having things more than you are with sharing Jesus and working for Him? Where are you devoting your passions? Are you living like a new creature? Or are you living like a carnal man who has simply learned to do some spiritual things?
In various places in Scripture, love is given as the main sign of a new life. God is love, and those born of Him live lives of love: love to Jesus, love to His church, and love to others. Jesus said love is the litmus test of the spiritual man. If you still love yourself more than others and the world more than the church, you are not a spiritual man; and therefore, you cannot be part of the kingdom of God. Period.
It’s easy to love strangers or business associates or those people who we help alongside the interstate or who we bump into in town. It’s a little less easy to love our neighbors. But generally the most difficult ones to love are those closest to us, our church family and the family we share a roof with. John asks us, “How can you say you love an unseen God when you can’t get along with your church family or those in your home?”
Praise the Lord there is a way to escape temptation, to live above sin, and to live in love! The same magnitude of power God used to raise Jesus from the dead is available to us for our daily fight against self. Taking inventory, we may notice some things in our lives that should not be there, but by the power of the Resurrection, we can gain victory and get rid of them.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Colossians 3:1-17 NKJV