Messages and Books on the Holy Spirit – Bob Kauflin

August 28, 2009

Bob Kauflin, previous Worship Leader for Covenant Life Church and Director of Sovereign Grace Music, has posted a great help. He has listed good books and sermons on the Holy Spirit, the gifts, the charismatic, and Sunday morning worship.

Messages and Books on the Holy Spirit

The Wide Effect of Redemption in the Gospel

July 23, 2009

The restoration of the entire cosmos

“The object of the work of redemption is not limited to the salvation of individual sinners, but extends itself to the redemption of the world, and to the organic reunion of all things in heaven and on earth under Christ as their original head.

The final outcome of the future, foreshadowed in the Holy Scriptures, is not the merely spiritual existence of saved souls, but the restoration of the entire cosmos, when God will be all in all under the renewed heaven on the renewed earth.”

—Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson 2008), 105-106

Link here

Sam Storms on “the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”

June 11, 2009

Hey Church,

I know some are growing weary of the topic of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and gifts like prophecy and tongues. However my goal is for us to tiringly and exhaustingly beat out these doctrines with joy and desperation not merely to know information but to embrace our Lord Jesus Christ and intimately know this God who has saved us. So please be patient as we as a church seek out these things to better know them.

I found this two part series over at Sam Storms’ ministry blog, Enjoying God Ministries about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It is an excellent and seemingly fair analysis of the differing stances of the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

I think you’ll find it is enlightening and scripturally based:

Part One of Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Part Two of Baptism of the Holy Spirit

You Shall Receive Power till Jesus Comes – John Piper

June 9, 2009

Here is a fascinating and excellent sermon by John Piper.

Please follow the link to listen to it and read the full transcript.

You Shall Receive Power till Jesus Comes – John Piper

Baptism of the Holy Spirit – A Personal Testimony from Pastor Rob

June 4, 2009

The background to my life is simple. Having been a Christian, I believe, for over twenty years, there was right along side my deep desire to live for Christ, a seeming lack of power in what I was doing. Reading the word, praying, evangelizing, loving my wife, disciplining my children, family worship, personal devotions, etc. ad nauseum all seemed to be labors which were too laborious! I knew that the Christian life was a series of battles which were all part of a larger war, but come on! Christians are supposed to love the word just like new born babes crave their mother’s milk. Christians are supposed to find the word of God to be the same delight David did in Psalm 119. Christians are supposed to pray regularly in the Spirit on all occasions for all the saints. Christians are supposed to fight sin and win more than they lose. But labor as hard as I might in these disciplines, there was always this nagging feeling like I was going to lose, or like I it would never be good enough.

The repeated failures in so many areas began to amass this huge burden of guilt so that every single day wherever I awoke, I was plagued with guilt, which induced stress, which produced anxiety. I was a nervous wreck, it seemed, most of the time. Every day was filled with stress about personal holiness, ministry to my wife, ministry to my children, ministry to my flock, diligence at work, and on and on. The most minute failures in each area would almost overwhelm me at times until I just wanted to run away, shut out the world, or even end it all and head on to heaven.

The underlying root problem was simple: I knew that the forgiveness of God through Christ was a power beyond anything I could imagine. I really believed that if I understood forgiveness I would have a new found power to kill sin, love my wife, love my children, love my flock, and glorify God in my job. Forgiveness would implant in me a view of the heinous nature of sin so that I would love running away from it and toward the Father. It would appear to be more beautiful than the objects of lust and covetousness. It would become more overwhelming than my guilt. But this is where my thought process failed me. I thought if I simply understood forgiveness, I would be in great shape. I figured that the struggles meant I really didn’t understand it. So I studied and studied and read and read as much on forgiveness and its associative doctrines as I possibly could. And therein lay the problem. It was a spiritual problem, and not a theological one.

For years, the words of Jesus in Luke 11 were my breath. How good is the heavenly Father to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. I believed Jesus’ words. If I kept asking, seeking, and knocking, He’d give it to me. So I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. And kept on praying. And prayed more. For weeks…months…and even years. There was this thing inside me which simply would not let me give up on believing this promise in Luke 11.

I sat in a theological classroom for a total of eight years, pursuing my undergrad in Biblical Studies, then my M.Div. in hermeneutics and exegesis. I was unsettled in my final convictions regarding the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit. Did it accompany salvation? Or was it an experience that came after? The answer to the questions are “yes” and “yes,” respectively, of course. But I had the same problem here as I did with forgiveness. I thought that if I studied it and understood it, everything would be different for me.

Then I listened to a message by Terry Virgo last week. My dear friend Vince Coakley forwarded it to me after a dinner together in Charlotte back in February. He challenged me regarding my views and thought processes, then forwarded me a link to the message on the web. A couple of weeks later I downloaded this and every other sermon I could by this fellow of whom I’d heard very little. I figured several sermons would help me get a feel for his theology. I listened to the message Vince told me about first: “Leading People to Experience the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” While listening, I was giving a hearty “amen” in my heart towards his theology, though struggling a bit with one or two features. I do remember pausing the message, however, a short ways through and praying: “Lord, the bottom line is that whether I agree with this man’s theology or not, I need the power of the Spirit in my life in so many areas. So I pray that if the baptism of the Spirit is biblical, is for me, and is something that comes through the laying on of hands, that You, Lord, would be willing to make an exception in my case and lay hands on me digitally.” So I listened with that sort of attentiveness to every word, praying constantly for the blessing, whatever it looked like. I even imagined the Lord laying His own hands on me while Terry was praying at the end.

Last Saturday night the Lord answered my prayer. I had finished my sermon preparation on the doctrine of expiation and forgiveness for Sunday morning. I went into the restroom to brush my teeth, said to myself, “You probably need to spend more time bathing that sermon in prayer,” which was immediately followed with this nagging sort of guilt I’ve struggled with most my life. “You haven’t been very diligent about your prayer life this past week! So why are you so concerned with it all the sudden? Do you think God will suddenly rise up and answer your prayers when you’re thinking about it only now, a few hours before you must preached?” Horrible, I know. But it was as much a part of my life, every day, all day, as breathing air. And it was debilitating.

But something happened that night. Something arose in me that I’d not experienced before. The Lord rose up in me suddenly as a warrior, defeated that thought with the word forgiveness, bringing to mind instantly the material I had just finished preparing, and the battle was over…that quickly. I was amazed. Then came the mysterious, unexplainable, awesome, happy, and joyful happening.

I retired to bed, laid there for about ten minutes praying about the next morning’s sermon, and suddenly, without any warning, I experienced for the first time in my life a genuine baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was filled so fast with such amazing and intimate joy and happiness, I began screaming and laughing. I could hardly contain myself, so much so that I had to grab a pillow and cover my face with it because I didn’t want to wake my dear wife (though I probably should have so she could have shared the joy!).

I laughed, I cried, I was overjoyed! And then, without warning, a flood of prophetic activity filled my mind such as I’ve never experienced before. I saw things, beautiful, mysterious, strange, awesome, incredible, indescribable, heavenly…all things that seemed to flow so naturally out of my joy that all I did was pray for more, and that I’d be swept away into the third heaven in the process. I began trying to describe what I was seeing. And then, as if all of this was not strange and mysterious enough, I noticed that my description of the things I was seeing was not in English. Wow! Holy cow! What do I do with that?! I was speaking in tongues. For the first time ever!

Then, the words to describe what I was seeing prophetically would appear in my mind, and I would try to pronounce them. They were not English, and since I’m not a linguist, I honestly didn’t know what language it was. I thought to myself, “Is this a tongue or language of angels that Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 13?” It hardly mattered. The fact that all of this – the flood of joy and happiness, the prophecy, the tongues, everything – the fact that it flowed out of the truth of God’s forgiveness for me could hardly be something Satan delighted in and was sponsoring. He hates Jesus and the cross because that’s where he was defeated. So this was honestly and genuinely from God Himself, and I was so excited that there was no mistaking that!

This lasted for quite a while until my mind grew weary and my body tired. I was about to drift off to sleep when I distinctly heard the Spirit say, “Arise and pray for your children.” I remember think, “Dang, I’m so sleepy now.” But what would usually follow as a commitment to sleep rather than a commitment to tarry an hour, was thrown out the window, and I reasoned, “I’m not gonna say no to that voice!” So I jumped up, entered my two oldest boys’ room, fell to the ground, and prayed with more vigor and fervor and power than I ever had before. Then the tongues surfaced again and there was an additional increase in power. I entered my two youngest children’s rooms and experienced the same thing.

I returned to bed, slept well, got up the next morning and did not experience even the slightest bit of worry, stress, and anxiety I normally did…and have not since that day, praise God. I worshiped with more intimacy than I ever had, and preached more passionately than I believe I ever had, and people definitely noticed.

Since that night, there’s been this whole new strength and power over my mortal sins of anxiety and unbelief. And to top it off this constant sense of anxiety about my future – when do I make the transition from business consultation to pastoring – well that’s all gone too! Every morning. There’s this new profound desire to read the word and pray and prophetically pray for people I meet. Colors are brighter and more vivid. I hear the birds and see nature more profoundly now. Singing enters my heart more spontaneously than ever before. Prayer has no longer been a labor. And there has not been a single ounce of guilt rule my heart since that night. Absolutely amazing, for someone like me who was almost ruled night and day with guilt. Subsequently, there’s been a powerful sense of God’s providence and sovereignty in His world and in my family and our church. Worry has left me because there’s a deep, inward sense of God’s control, without me wading through guilt over unbelief in it to grasp it. Things just seem a bit easier, overall.

The bottom line is this. Simply seeking a right theology and understanding of the Spirit and the gospel is not enough. It is a necessary thing, because the experience that followed for me was based on that theology. Without a right understanding of forgiveness, I’m not quite sure what it was the Spirit would have applied to me. But with that knowledge He applied the doctrine of forgiveness and expiation to me in a way only He could. And that’s all the difference right there. HE did it, not me. HE plugged it into my heart, where I could not. HE made an application of it in a way I could not. He connected the teaching with the experiential for me last Saturday night, and it feels like I’ve been converted all over again. I can’t keep trying to put my theological template over on top of the work of the Spirit in other peoples’ lives, in God’s world, in the church. It’s time to study and know what I can, but remain open to the work of the Spirit however He desires to work in His world and especially in His church. It’s time to make theology subservient to the real, authentic, genuine, life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit, without which my theology is really nothing at all.

Thank God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit! I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Rob Wilkerson
Pastor, Church in the Boro
Statesboro, GA

You can listen to the message by Terry Virgo, Leading People to Experience the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Are You a Christian Who Practices Magic But Doesn’t Realize It?

May 14, 2009

I knew the title would be catchy…and I got your attention, didn’t I? But hang on because this isn’t a bait-and-switch post.

Christians who practice magic are those who view their Christian life through the lenses of decision and instant gratification. Think about it for a minute. Is not our American, 21st century, westernized version of Christianity largely, if not almost completely, based upon decisionalism and instant gratification? We raise a hand, say a prayer, walk an aisle, throw a pinecone in the fire, sign a card, shake a preacher’s hand, rededicate our life, etc… and inside we think that everything is supposed to be different or will somehow change…simply because we made a decision. Then when the going gets tough, the tough get going…in the other direction. They leave frustrated, confused, bewildered, irritated….all because they expected their Christian life to somehow – magically – be different.

Then there’s the other lens of instant gratification, which goes right along, hand-in-hand, with decisionalism. When we make a decision, things are supposed to be instantly different….magically different. So with these two lenses sitting in the frame of American Christianity, the average Christian here lives out a view of sanctification that is more magical, more superstitious, than biblical and successful.

Compare that to the naked eyes of Jesus Christ who knows that process is where the progress is. And that’s where the power is also, to live the Christian life. Reconsider a few statements by Jesus as a correction to this magical Christian life many of us have grown up with here in America.

  • Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24, ESV). Following…that’s about process. The word “would” in the English is the Greek thelei, which is in the present active…ongoing…never ending…process. And “follow” is in the present active…again about process. So here’s this denying and taking up of the cross going on…both sandwiched between two present active Greek words which communicate that the whole deal here is about process. Yes, there’s a decision here…to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Jesus. But it’s ongoing. There’s no magical, instant gratification going on here. In fact, it’s quite the opposite…because you’re dragging a cross in order to be nailed to it.
  • “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10, ESV). The verbs – ask, seek, and knock – are all…once again…present active verbs. This is a process occuring here. There’s no magical decisionalism and instant gratification in continuing to beg, search, and knock.
  • Prayer is all about process. “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1, ESV). Praying and not losing heart are present tense, process words. There’s no magic in continuing to persistently ask for the same thing, not giving up no matter how difficult it gets. Jesus set that example for us in Matthew 6 by telling us, “Pray then like this…” (6:9). There’s a present tense word again…prayer is about process. Asking for food everyday is a process. Asking for forgiveness and forgiving others is about process. Asking to not be led into temptation is a process. Asking to be delivered from the the devil everyday is a process. Asking for God’s kingdom and will in heaven to be done on earth is a process. There’s no magic in this, friend. No instant gratification here.

Christians who pray for a special anointing in their life do right to ask for it. But they do wrong when they fail to see or embrace the plain fact that process is built into every anointing. The husband who asks the pastor to pray for a special anointing on his marriage and parenting will get it from the Spirit (just as Jesus promised in Luke 11), but it always comes with process. It’s not some magical act of me taking my hands off my marriage and parenting, somehow expecting that Jesus will just “take the wheel.” It’s not the Keswick version of sanctification that just lets go and lets God.

This only produces and reproduces Christian magic. Christians ask and expect God to act magically, to magically perform sanctification, and godly parenting, and loving marriages, and healthy churches, etc. An excellent example of the logical end of this lifestyle is the prosperity gospel, the “name-it-and-claim-it” religion that is utterly magical in almost every aspect. I ask for something (I probably shouldn’t ask for in the first place), and then sit back and expect God to just – “presto! whammo!” – give it to me…instantly. It’s off the deep end because it fails to recognize again that our God is a God who builds into His answers to our prayers a process that must not be superceded, though He Himself, as sovereign God of the universe, is free at anytime to supercede it for reasons He hardly, if ever, reveals to us.

In short, the gospel is a call to process for Christians. We pray for instant healing, but live with the process of being sanctified in our sickness. We pray for a job to fall out of the sky and hit us in the head, but we work full-time at finding a full-time job. We pray for God to drop a financial blessing on us so we can get out of debt, but we pay steadily and consistently on the bills until they are all paid off. We pray for God to invade our kids’ lives and suddenly – even instantly – change them (and I pray often!), but we shepherd and love and manage them toward the Savior.

The gospel is all about process. The gospel promises progress in process. And it also promises power in the process. Let us embrace the splintered cross on the long road to certain death and resurrection with Jesus. And let us cast off any notion of the the styrofoam, fluffy, frilly cross that promises instant yet empty gratification. And let us especially rid ourselves of idea of some once-and-for-all decision I can make that will suddenly and magically change everything about us and for us.

Take up the cross…every day…and deny yourself…every day…and follow Jesus…every day.

The Resurrection Life: Passionate and True

April 14, 2009

April 2, 2009 marked the five year anniversary of the matyrdom and homegoing of a man of God. A pastor of a church in Pakistan – even smaller than our my own little flock here in Statesboro, GA – was shot and killed in the village of Manawala, near Lahore, Pakistan. (See the story here as I read it from the Free Republic five years ago.)

George Masih, aged 42, was the leader of a small village church which met in his home. He and his wife, Aniata, were active in reaching out to the villagers in the primarily Muslim village in order to share the gospel with them.

Masih had worked previously as an elder in a Church of Pakistan congregation in Lahore. He and his wife had relocated the family two years ago to Manawala and were looking to plant a church there. They were known in the village for the worship songs that could be heard coming from their house, and for ministering house to house reaching out to neighbors and praying for those who were sick – even if they were Muslims. There is only one other Christian family in the village.

The Christian work of Pastor Masih and his family drew the anger of a Muslim neighbor named Shokat Ali. Ali was irritated by the Christian meetings in Masih’s home, and urged the landlord to kick the family out. On more than one occasion Ali threatened to kill Masih if he continued preaching, according to Voice of the Martyr sources in Pakistan.

On Friday, April 2, 2004, around noon, Masih, his wife and four children were watching the JESUS film in their home. When the movie finished, Aniata got up to go out of the house. When she opened the door, two masked attackers burst in. One grabbed Aniata and covered her mouth, threatening her with death if she tried to cry out for help.

The other attacker fired a shotgun point blank at Pastor Masih’s face. As the Christian man lay dying, the assailant hit him in the head with the butt of the gun. Then both men fled.

Hearing the cries of Aniata, many neighbors gathered. One neighbor who did not show up was Shokat Ali.

About 300 people gathered in the home of George’s brother for the funeral, including many Muslims who had been blessed by his ministry. Pastor Mukhtar, the pastor who led George to Christ, called the martyred Christian “a true and passionate believer” and said, “he always tried to win the souls with his preaching.”

Pastor Masih leaves behind a wife, three sons (8, 4, and 2) and a daughter (1).

In 1 Corinthians 15, which has been our text for the past several weeks, Paul asks a key question that we must answer, and it is a question that Pastor Masih’s wife must answer, and one that the Pastor himself already answered when he kept on preaching after receiving the threat on his life. I take that question from the first half of verse 29: “If the dead will not be raised, then what point is there in…” preaching in a Muslim populated village even when you know you’ll be killed for it?

In verse30, Paul goes on to ask, “And why should we ourselves be continually risking our lives, facing death hour by hour?” He continues to explain in verse 31. “For I swear, brothers and sisters, I face death daily.” Then in verse 32, he recounts his struggle with the riotous Ephesians who dragged Paul’s companions off to the amphitheatre, and would have hurt Paul also if they could have laid their hands on him.

So Paul asks, “why in the world do I submit myself to physical and verbal danger to both my person and my reputation, if I didn’t believe in the resurrection from the dead?” In effect, he is saying what Pastor Masih believe in his heart – the fact that I am purposefully facing death and harm is precisely because I believe that no matter what happens to me, I will be raised from the dead like my Savior!

My Proposition

Here’s what I’m after in this post. It’s something plain, straightforward and simple. I want to see the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ so deeply engrained on the hearts and minds of my people, as well as my own, that we all will live like we believe in it, and that we will do so passionately. And I wanted to take an opportunity in a hotel room on business travel to do this by simply and briefly touching once more the truths of the gospel we’ve already discovered together in our series “I Need More Gospel!” (our exposition of 1 Corinthians 15:1-11). However, this time I wanted to do so with the logical and biblical result of resurrection.

The focus of the resurrection begins with a focus on Christ’s death for sin. The message of the gospel is that Christ satisfied the wrath of God against our sin. The message is that Christ died in our place, acting as our substitute. The message is that He did it to forgive our sins, completely removing them from the eyes and mind of God. Therefore, if we believe in Jesus Christ as that propitiation, substitution and expiation, then the demands of God’s law for sin have been met. That demand is death, and death has been satisfied. Therefore, for those who believe in Jesus, not only is sin forgiven, but its consequence – death – is not a reality anymore.

His death was the satisfaction of God’s wrath. Therefore we do NOT have to die.

His death was a substitution for ours, therefore we will NOT have to die.
His death was an expiation for our sins, therefore we will NEVER see the consequences of those sins, which his death.
This is what the author of Hebrews seeks to teach in 2:9 when he says, “But we see him who was made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, crowned with glory and honor, because he let himself be put to death so that by the grace of God he might undergo death for all men” (BBE).

In the end, there are only two results that can come from all of this.

1. The first is that our souls will NOT die because Jesus died for us! If we put our faith in Jesus Christ as our propitiation, substitution and expiation, then death is no worry for us because Jesus already took care of it for us.

He taught in John 6:50-51, “The bread which comes from heaven is such bread that a man may take it for food and never see death. I am the living bread which has come from heaven: if any man takes this bread for food he will have life for ever…” He also taught in 8:51 that if we keep His words we will never see death.

In 11:26, He proclaimed, “And no one who is living and has faith in me will ever see death.”
This is the Jesus John saw and heard and reported about in Revelation 1:17-18 – “Fear not; I am the first and the last, and the Living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life! So we must believe Him when He says the things He says about not seeing death. What exactly does He mean then by these statements? After all, we know so many godly persons who have died, and we know from great probability that we too will die one day? So how can He say we will never see death? I mean, look at Lazarus! Jesus made the statement about not seeing death after Lazarus had already died! But notice the other perspective, the more biblical and truthful perspective. He made that proclamation not only after Lazarus had died, but He especially made it BEFORE He raised Lazarus from the dead!

But all of this is still confusing because Lazarus ended up dying again! And so did the widow’s son whom Jesus raised. And so did all the others whom Jesus raised from the dead. This is where the first result needs more explanation, and the second result needs proclamation.

2. You see, not only will we not die because Jesus died for us, but our bodies will be raised to life again because His was! We know our body will probably die one day. When it does, our soul will be immediately ushered into the presence of God. Our soul is that immaterial part of us which is where sanctification takes place. It is the spiritual heart where Jesus comes to take up residence when we believe in Him. It is the part of us where indwelling sin resides, although it has already been forgiven. It is that place where we do battle with sin by the power of the truth of the gospel that Jesus has already defeated it! It is that invisible place of our being no one sees but God.

It is real and definite. And it will experience an existence when it is separate from our body. For the Christian it is that part of our being of which Paul speaks when he says in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord. Jesus speak of a first and second death in Revelation 20. If the second death is eternal hell where the sinner’s body will exist forever with his soul, then the first death must refer to his physical death after which his soul is immediately ushered into the presence of hell.

This is why Jesus proclaims in 20:6 – “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power…” That first resurrection refers to the resurrection of the bodies of the righteous at the second coming of Christ. Though our bodies may lie dead in the grave, we are promised in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and following that Jesus Himself will raise us up from the grave to live with Him forever.

Now meditate on this truth of the resurrection. Jesus went into the pit of death where the door was slammed behind Him. But He arose again and unlocked the door of death from the INSIDE!…something no human has ever done before! He came out of death’s pit with a glorified body and arose to heaven. And as for our bodies, they too will one day be ushered into the presence of the Lord! Because He unlocked death’s door from the inside, we will not have to even walk through that door, ever!

You see, His death for us meant defeating death for us. And this defeat conquered its consequences both spiritually AND physically. Spiritually, our souls will never see death. And even though our bodies may see death physically, that death is only temporary, isn’t it? Can it really be said to be death when our bodies will be resurrected like Jesus’ body was? That’s why Jesus referred to Lazarus’ death in John 11 as sleep! That’s why Paul referred to it as sleep in 1 Corinthians 15:51 – “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (NASB). He continues in verses 52-57 to explain:

“It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die. When this happens – when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die – then at last the Scriptures will come true: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

1. Pray for Christ’s return!

When He returns, if you are still alive, your body will not have to undergo a physical death, but it will simply and instantaneously and miraculously transformed into a body that cannot die. To a person who is suffering with a terminable disease, there is no greater anxiety reliever than to look forward to the return of Christ, who may return at any moment and save that body from the ravages of sickness and death. But, even if He should not come back before we die, there is still no greater encouragement and relief to a suffering person than to know that dying is gain (Phil. 2:21). This is why we must also make every effort to…

2. Live and die by the truth of the resurrection!

Even if we die, our bodies will be raised again and made like Jesus. Why then do we spend so much time pampering our bodies with safety, security, and beauty? Why do we spend so much time praying for healing rather than looking forward to the resurrection? I’ll tell you why. It is all because we don’t really believe in the doctrine of the resurrection. And since this doctrine is an inseparable part of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it can be and should be said that we don’t really believe in the gospel! If we did, we would look to Jesus not only as our substitutionary death for the forgiveness of our sins, but we would also look to Him as our substitutionary death for the resurrection of our bodies! We would live as those who really do take no thought for our bodies in terms of what we will eat, drink and wear (Matt. 6:25). We will realize that God knows what we need to survive, and that our main task in life is to glorify Him and satisfy ourselves in Him by seeking His kingdom and righteousness first (6:32-33).

The end of Paul’s explanation regarding the resurrection of your body is about working as hard as you can for Jesus Christ. He says, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Cor. 15:58, NLT).

The solution for your life when you are weak and unstable is the resurrection, dear brothers and sisters! The only reason you would be weak and unstable is because you’ve forgotten what is going to happen to you! And if you are probably going to experience an earthly death, and if you are definitely going to experience a heavenly transformation of that earthly body of yours, why worry about what will happen to you? Why wallow in anxiety? And most of all, why hold back in your ministry and service to the Lord?
Prove to yourself that you believe in the gospel!
Prove it to yourself, to your church body, to the Lord, and to the world that you do believe in Jesus’ proclamation of resurrection.
Prove it by going out and seeking that most difficult way of life and most “risky” kind of ministry you can find.
Start spending huge amounts of time in the downtown suburbs of the inner city and pour your life out there!
Or better yet, move there! Take a “risk” and go to the mission field for a short time, and don’t just go to any mission field!
Go to third world mission fields where you can give substance to your proof that you don’t care what happens to you when you are working for Jesus.
Sell that second car and give the money away, and see what happens!
Sell your home and move into a smaller one, and give the equity away and see what happens!
Prove to everyone around you and especially to the Lord that you are a lover of Jesus, that you do desperately believe in the gospel of Christ, and that you most definitely do not care for your earthly body more than you do your resurrection body!

3. Be Resurrected from Your Apathy!

Apathy is the one thing that almost every Christian is guilty of at some point in their lives. It kills life because it ignores it. It pays virtually no attention to the life-giving force of the Spirit, nor to the means God has given us to keep that life alive, fresh, invigorated, and joyous.

Christ rose from the dead so that you could be raised from your apathy. He conquered death with life, so let’s see the life! Isn’t it amazing how many Christians act like He never rose from the dead. Yet it is the single truth of the resurrection that conquers death and everything associated with it – especially the sorrow and the stench.

If you have been raised to life with Christ, then act like you are alive! A life that professes to have been raised with Christ but loves sin smells with the stench of death. And a life that professes to have been raised with Christ but is never joyful is trapped by the sorrow of His death. To use a modern phrase – “Get a life!” Get Jesus’ life! Do whatever you must do to obtain resurrection life!


This is the simple call tonight, then. This is the life Jesus presents as giving to those who call upon Him and who desire to follow after Him. This is the only kind of life He gives. So examine your life this today. How does the life you say you have in Him compare with this kind of life that He says gives at salvation? Is the life you say you have in Jesus as abundant and powerful as the resurrection life?

You are probably asking: “How in the world can anyone ever hope to live like that?” I would say ask Pastor Masih, but he’s enjoying his eternal life with Christ right now, because he believed in the resurrection from the dead and lived like it! His testimony alone proves to us that people can live like that. And the reason you and I can live like that today is because the same power that raised Christ from the dead, was the same power that worked in Paul, that worked in Pastor Masih, and that works in you, if indeed you are truly saved.

Resurrection life will prove itself to be vibrant, energetic, powerful, renewing, invigorating, unstoppable, consistent, always getting back up when it is knocked down whether by other people or your own sin. It keeps its eyes on the prize – heaven where Christ Jesus now sits ready to welcome you as a good and faithful servant.

Will you come to receive this life this very minute, if you don’t have it? And if you do have it won’t you come to Him again this morning for a resurrection recharge? Ask Him to fill you with that abundant life that He offers, but be sure you want it before you ask for it!

And if you really do want it but don’t get it as soon as you ask, then read the Word, especially the NT, and especially Paul’s letters. Read them over and over again, praying as you read, that God would grant you a fresh and powerful recharge of that resurrection life. And after you’re done praying and reading, go out and look for something you can do, some kind of ministry that God desires of you, where you can prove that you have that life! That kind of response is called faith. And it is on account of that kind of faith that God counts you righteous. Live like you believe it!


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