The Power of His Resurrection # 4
I went to the house and the whole family had gotten saved, teenage daughters, mother had gotten back to God. I looked at the house, it was beautifully painted, beautifully done and he added, "You know, Mr. Ravenhill, I was the kind of guy who wanted to get the world right, and I wasn't right myself." And he said, "I'll tell you how much change it makes: Jesus Christ has not only changed my life, He's changed the whole home. I wasn't content even to live in the slum I was in. I thought, 'No this is not the place we should be. I discovered the gospel did this: it met me personally, it met me domestically, it met me socially. Because I've been able to go back in the factory and tell men there of the miracle of the Gospel, that He took out the habit. And what I was cursing other people for I had in myself. I had money, but I spent it on liquor, smoking, all the other things, and since Christ came He completely changed and revolutionized my life." That's the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. This is a classical case in my mind. Again, "You hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and in sin."
Let me look at Colossians 3:1-2 before I finish. Paul says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things where are beneath." The destination is this: that the life is the life above. The design is this: set your affection on them. It's one thing for God to make it possible, it's another thing for us to appropriate that thing. Step back a minute into Colossians. It says again what Romans says in verse 12 if chapter 2: "buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumision of your flesh hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven all trespasses; Now verse 20: "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, "Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which perish with the using) after the commandments and doctrines of men" Now chapter 3:1 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, 'wherein' Christ sitteth on the right hand of the Father."
I am going to finish with this: Look, Paul, to me, is the most mature Christian that ever lived, the most successful ministry, the man who had such revelations that God said keep your mouth closed about it! (I sometimes wonder if he had a preview of what John finally saw in the book of the Revelation.) The resurrection of Jesus Christ ended as His ministry. It made a final,complete separation, and He had perfect peace of Jesus Christ ended all His ministry. When he wasn't teaching the basic laws of His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Love, nor Teaching the Sermon on the Mount. And He was contented just to walk, walk, walk in His resurrection life. Are you and I as contented as that? This man says, "Look, I'm in prison." I"m sure he was, because at the end of his epistle he says, "Listen, there are saints in Ceasars household." And I think maybe he was in a basement chained up down there. And again he did not ask for deliverance, he says, "You know, that resurrection power that quickened Him, I want that resurrection." It says here what it says nowhere else in the New Testament: "I want to attain the out resurrection from the dead. He is talking, I believe, about the out resurrection from the dead, but he is also talking about that resurrection power. Why? Because he says, A"If you are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." Not things earthly, sensual, devilish. Have as little as you can with it. Seek the lofty things, the holy things, the life of prayer, the life of inspiration, the life of joy in the Spirit. Remind yourself now, not when you a'shuffle off this mortal coil." Tell yourself every morning; EVEN NOW I'M A CHILD OF GOD. Sure the world will rough me up. It roughed Him up. "Is this vile world a friend to Grace to help us on to God?" No sir, it's not. As Tozer used to say, "Len, remember, keep this in your mind. Remember this: that while you and I are on earth we are passing through enemy territory." Yes, it's hostile country. The old enemy is going to shoot darts at us. Oppositions are going to come. We are speckled birds. The world doesn't like what we do. Doesn't like what we say. Doesn't like the way we act. It is a corrupt, evil, sinful, wicked world. It follows its god. It is ruled by the prince of the power of the air. There is an eternal antagonism between the two. But keep your head up. Remember that you can draw day by day, by day, by day, hour by hour, moment by moment on the resurrection life of Jesus, because the resurrection life of Jesus is the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead.
The older I get the more I realize every work of the Holy Spirit is majestic. He gave us this Word, and I thank God it doesn't go moldy like the bread to the children of Israel. They kept it too long, it went moldy. Well, this has been round two thousand years, its sweeter than honey in the honey comb. It's more precious. The Holy Spirit made it. Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Church, which is His body, was the creation of the Holy Spirit. The child in the womb of the virgin Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The dead in Christ He's going to raise. And in that raising, gone is every sin that man has ever committed from here back to eternity. If a man will come ... no matter what kind of sin it is. You can rate it as you like ... put it in different categories, makes no difference. The Word of God says that Jesus was raised from the dead and He dieth no more. And because He lives we shall live also. The death of the Lord Jesus, the Cross, proves the love of God. The resurrection proves the power of God. And "if He were risen from the dead", God intended we have under our feet what He had: The world, the flesh, the devil.
Jesus is risen. He's cut off from the world. He lives in it, but He is not of it. Again, I can't explain what this does to me, but when I think that for 40 days and nights He didn't say a word to the world. When I think that for 2000 years He's never bothered with the Jews. Makes me wonder ... if God turns His back on America before long we are in for an awful lot of trouble. Worse than we've ever dreamed of. Maybe if Gabriel could shout a word to America right now, or to England, or to Australia, so called civilized countries, he'd say, what Jesus said: "Oh, Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem, oh Bethsaida, if thou knewest the day of thy visitation." We don't know how blessed we are ... We've food, we've clothing. You think it might take a judgment, or prison to get some people really together? To break down bad spirits, and unforgiving spirits, and hardness of heart? Will it have to be done in tears, because it hasn't been done at the Cross through the love of the Lord Jesus?
Let's aspire, by the grace of God, day by day.
Let's say with Paul: "That we may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship ..." I'm not asking to slip out of the fellowship. The Church of Jesus is suffering and I want to suffer with them in that sense, as best I can in spirit, and maybe we'll do it physically. "That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable to His death." Because if I really died, if that baptism I went into is a symbol only of something that had happened at the moment Jesus died, I died with Him. The moment that He rose, I rose with Him ... And I am not dragging a withered limb, he did a complete job. Sure there are corrections, there are improvements, there is growth in grace. But He died that we might be pure. He died that we might lead a victorious life. The resurrection life of Jesus quickening our mortal bodies. One day that resurrection will actually take place in a triumphant shattering of all the graves. They are going to come "from earth's wide bounds and ocean's farthest coasts, through gates of pearls will stream in a countless host, singing to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Alleluia! Won't it be wonderful to sit down with Paul and ask what he really meant about the resurrection power?
Let's keep reading, and let's keep believing, and let's keep obeying.
Father we thank You. We are so glad again we have not followed a cunningly devised fable. We thank you for the revelation of truth which is eternal. We pray for an expansion of vision. An expansion of revelation. A deeper willingness to go further with Thee than we have gone before. That we may go and walk circumspectly, that if You appear at our side, we wouldn't embarrass You, because we are walking in the place of obedience. Let Your blessing be upon us. Amen