RESURRECTION

RESURRECTION: A CENTERPIECE OF OUR FAITH

Today we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, the day that our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  The importance of resurrection for Christians cannot be underestimated.  The Word of God made us understand in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that “if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.”  In addition to this, as Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:18-19 “those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”  So, without resurrection the whole basis of our faith falls like a pack of cards.  We however give all glory to God, who raised His Son Christ Jesus from the dead.  He is the firstborn of the dead and is vindicated by God in His glorious resurrection. Christ rose and we have hope that we shall also rise with Him. We look forward to the coming of the Lord when all who died in Christ will rise to live when they hear His voice. 

Practical Christian faith growth and maturity has been well articulated in the book of James.  However, without the resurrection of Christ, where will our faith be?  The Resurrection of Christ is a huge cornerstone for our faith.  The idea of the resurrection is so important that we who are Christians depend on it for everything we are and believe.  Colossians 2:13 tells us God has made us alive in Christ.  We cannot be made alive if Christ Himself is not alive. Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  If He has not been raised, then what is our saving grace?  The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ also comes with great power. In our efforts to grow our faith to maturity, we must continue to rely on that power.  The power of the resurrection can mold us in a Christ-like fashion.  It is not a day’s job, but God will continue and will carry it to completion. The power of resurrection is able to convict us, confront us, and ultimately conform us.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” – 1 Peter 1:3-4. 

Christ’s resurrection is an event that happened about two thousand years ago but is not over yet. In other words, it is not just another history lesson. The power of that event is still working today.  Aside from the centrality of our faith in the resurrection, it continues to impact our life today because of the power that is inherent in it.  For this reason, Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10-11 said, he wanted to know Christ and also “to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” In Ephesians 1:18-20, Paul also prayed that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which He has called us and also know the incomparably great power He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.  Our whole faith and Christian journey sits firmly on the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Christ is risen and this is the centerpiece of our faith. There is power in His resurrection, and that power is so very relevant today in in our lives.  Today, we all need the resurrection power to experience healing, deliverance, to overcome family problems, to overcome financial problems and so many other trials of life that we face daily.  So, as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection today, I want you to remember the importance of this event to our faith and like Paul, let us pray that we begin to experience the resurrection power in our lives and that this power will help us persevere as we go through all of life’s travails, so that in the end our perseverance will finish its work and we will become mature and complete (James 1:4).

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THE REALITY OF OUR REDEMPTION

One of the most important words in the Bible is beautifully captured in one theological word—Redemption. The redemption of the man following his fall from grace to grass is a major Biblical theme that runs through the pages of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. The fall of man was set in motion when Adam (Man’s Federal headship) disobeyed the commandment of God when he listened to the voice of an outlaw spirit, Satan, who is God’s major adversary on earth.

The Lord had created Adam, a free moral agent with the authority to make his own decisions and choices and to obey or disobey the voice of God. To be sure, God did not create Adam a robot that is programmed and ordered around the beautiful garden of Eden. Indeed, He created Adam with his own free will. More importantly, Adam was also created in the image and likeness of God – Gen. 1:26.

The Lord had commanded Adam, saying, “of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat for in the day that you shall eat of it, you shall surely die.” – Gen. 2:16-17. As said earlier, Adam had full authority to obey or disobey God having been created as a free moral agent by God. Unfortunately, Adam and his wife, Eve, opted to disobey the commandment of God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil following Satan’s deception.

Adam and Eve lost their authority in the garden and became slaves of Satan following their disobedience. God came and sent them away from the beautiful Garden of Eden. God also pronounced judgment on the man, the woman, and the devil who deceived them. By his disobedience, Adam also ushered into man’s bloodline the reign of sin and physical and spiritual death. Apostle Paul captures Adam’s fall thus: “Therefore just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all have sinned” – Romans 5:12.

However, the gracious God had a plan for man’s redemption even before the foundation of the world. Immediately after the fall, God disclosed His redemption plan for man in Genesis 3:15 which says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between her seed and your seed. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” God’s redemption plan will be actualized through the seed of a woman (Jesus) who will be man’s substitutionary sacrifice. Jesus, the second Adam will undo the harm that the first Adam caused humanity.

According to Amos, the Lord does nothing unless He reveals His secrets to His servants, the prophets. It is on this note that the Lord revealed His detailed plan for man’s redemption through Prophet Isaiah. God gave Isaiah detailed prophetic revelation concerning His suffering son who will be man’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. Isaiah writes, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him and by His stripe, we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5.

Isaiah’s prophetic revelation was actualized on the cross of Calvary where the Son of God Jesus became the substitutionary sacrifice for man’s redemption. According to Apostle Paul, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the son of His love in whom we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14. The Lord Jesus was born into the world for one purpose – to die on the cross of Calvary for man’s redemption. This was necessary to satisfy God’s justice because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of our sins. – Heb. 9:22.

In all, we need to continually thank God for our redemption and the indescribable gift of His glorious Son Jesus Christ – the rock of our salvation. Following our redemption, Jesus has made us “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

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TAMING OUR TONGUES

Our words are powerful and that is the idea that the Word of God teaches us in the book of proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  Which fruit are we set to eat?  The power of life or the power of death.  Our words are so powerful they can be used to kill or give life.  In the same vein that our words can encourage or discourage someone, so also it can cause deep trouble for the speaker.  Proverbs 21:23 says “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”  We can avoid a whole lot of calamities for ourselves when we watch our tongues.  While not condoning violence, one can easily conclude that the commotion that happened at the Oscars was instigated by words of mouth.  James (3:6) calls the tongue a fire and a world of evil among the body parts.  It corrupts the whole body.  There is no gain saying that whatever we can do to curb the excesses of the tongue must be done.  “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.”  When we allow our tongue to be corrupt by speaking evil, we also become invariably evil.  We must tame our tongues. We must control our words.

As desirable as it is to tame the tongue, the Bible tells us that it is not an easy task.  “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” – James 3:7-8.  This is to say that without the grace of God it is difficult to tame one’s tongue.  We must begin by surrendering our hearts and our whole being completely to God.  “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” – Matthew 15:19.  If we must tame our tongues we must then first and foremost surrender our hearts to God.  It is by so doing that we can guard our hearts with the peace that only God gives.  Our best efforts will not cut, but our total surrender to the God of all creation will do it.  We must learn to dedicate our heart, our mind, and our tongue to the Lord in total surrender.

We must also practice speaking edifying words.  We must pray that God himself will make us consciously aware of the words we speak, so we can make the efforts to speak right all the time.  The Word of God says “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” – Ephesians 4:29. You know that story about a man who owns two wolves that are always fighting. The question is, which wolf wins? “The one that is fed”. The power of the tongue to subdue and destroy can be tamed if we refuse to feed it, while the power of the tongue to uplift and edify can be strengthened by feeding it.  God has given us the freedom to choose between good and evil.  When we follow Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Philippian Church in Philippians 4:8, choosing to think of things that are true, things that are noble, things that are right, things that are pure, things that are lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy and then verbalize those things, we are making conscious efforts to feed the power of the tongue to uplift.  Philippians 4:9 says “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”  Whenever we put into practice the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, which Apostle Paul also embraced, we are feeding the power of good in us, and when we verbalize them, we are feeding the power of good in our tongue.

My brothers and sisters, there is nothing that is too hard for God to do.  Taming our tongues begin with trusting God as a change agent and surrendering our hearts and mind to Him.  We get better at it by making sure we pray and stay focused so we do not get distracted by the enemy.  Whenever we must say things that are important and can affect other people, always THINK about it first. T – is it True? H – is it Helpful? I – is it Inspiring? N – is it Necessary? K – is it Kind? “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” – Colossians 4:6.  Remember also that “when words are many, sin is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” – Proverbs 10:19.  May the good Lord help us to restrain our tongues.